Thursday, September 29, 2011

Reading reading plays. And still, my amazon order hasn't arrived so I'm having to wander through stuff that I don't think is suitable but as a time filler, it's worth checking.

Sometime ago, in the dead of night in a holiday cottage bedroom, I was chatting to a friend of a friend, busy trying to be a writer, who spoke of one of her favourite writers, an Irish playwright called Marina Carr.

A stupendous play, said this Friend Of A Friend, is this Marina Carr's Portia Coughlan. So I rushed home and ordered up two volumes of her work.

Unfortunately, most of the two volumes are filled with plays that are preceded with "I have written these to be performed in the Midlands accent. This accent is stronger than is represented by the words written here but feel free to deliver them as authentically as possible." Or words to this effect.

And of course she's not meaning a nice neutral Midland England accent. It continues to pain me that vast swathes of brilliant contemporary literature aren't really available to us as I continue to think there's nothing worse than a play (well, some things - let's not be melodramatic - but it's wrong to do a play) that relies on a specific location delivered in Not The Right Accent.

There are a couple of plays tucked away at the back of volume two. The Cordelia Dream is a (long) two hander about "old man" who appears to be in love with "woman" and lies around drinking, smoking and playing the piano, interacting with this "woman". Until at the end, we discover that the woman is... made of dust.

I had higher hopes for Marble. A four person play. Nice neat cast size. Neutrally accented. But it turns out to be a middle class angst play. Art and Anne are married. Ben and Catherine are married. One startling night (though it isn't very startling really), we discover that Art and Catherine dreamt lewdly about each other. Cue much soul searching how long we've been married how tiresome it's all become how we've settled pointlessness of life debate. And guess what happens? Art and Catherine, pages and pages and pages later, run off with each other.

I shall continue to hunt for something a little less suburban.


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