Saturday, October 20, 2012

I went to see a play last weekend.

("Really??" you cry. "How unlike you.")

And it served as a beautiful demonstration of why a normal person might write off the theatre.

Don't get me wrong. It was a beautiful production. (Grid Iron, I love you and I loved your boxy set and I loved your best efforts with the nostalgic film show on the till then inexplicable pinboard. You, girl who was in the truly terrible middle class but pretending so hard not to be, it hurt, Wonderland, you were very good. I do admire and covet your cascading red hair. And scientist boy who was more finely formed than any scientist ever would be, you were hot.)

But the story. Goodness it made me fume a little bit.

"The Authorised Kate Bane" tells of a girl, an author, who takes her boyfriend home to meet her dad. Her dad is a nice middle class almost retired lecturer. Her boyfriend is a mild mannered middle class scientist.

Her mother gatecrashes the occasion. (Well, later you discover that she doesn't but that doesn't matter.) She is A Wild (mc in denial) Bohemian.

The girl, the author, who goes by the name of Kate, spends some of the play worrying about her soon to be published novel. Worrying to the extent that she will not let Nice Boyfriend read it for fear it is rubbish.

Then it is published. It is not very good.

She spends the other part of the play speaking of the dread that overwhelms and chokes her every time she thinks about going back to the familial home. So she doesn't go home very often.

The worry and dread, we, the audience, think. Oh dear, that sounds bad. Sick, she says she feels. Dear me indeed. What can have gone on?

One could choose to blame Jimmy Saville but when it is revealed that she feels lurking choking dread at the prospect of going home because she is.... ASHAMED of her middle class upbringing, my sympathy, which was already pretty scant for this poor little rich girl who couldn't write very well, evaporated.

"You're no one to talk" cries her dad as she rails against his slaving to claw his way up from his dirty working class origins in.... DUNDEE. "You won't even drink instant coffee."

"That's your fault" she roars back. "Because you wouldn't let me drink it. You only ever brought it into the house when we had builders in!!!"

Searing political stuff.

I suspect this commentary will come back to haunt me when my political polemic masterpiece is finally published and Joyce observes that I clearly haven't had a very hard life.

But the middle classes railing against the shame of being middle class??

Theatre can do better.


Blogger Melanie Browne said...

Hi there Claire. My names Melanie. i just wanted to get your thoughts on this subject properly. i've been looking through the reviews etc for the authorised kate bane and found your blog. really interesting read and what i found more interesting is that it still bothered you a few days later as it did me. but having had the conversation ive had and read the proper published version of the book/play im wondering why grid iron or indeed the writer and the director took the decision to cut some very important and brilliant narrative from the production.(have you read the book?) which only seemed to bug me more.
my reasoning comes from a conversation with one of the actors in the play and also having just read the published version of the play which i found to be brilliant. I'd seen the play at the tron in Glasgow on a friday night. and although i enjoyed it to a point i found it to be very sporadic and lacking in basic sense. confusing to the point that i thought the father had (how do i say this) tampered with his daughter at some point during her young life especially given the OTT reaction by the actress to actually hugging or kissing her father. But no it just turns out she's as you say ASHAMED of her Middle class upbringing. YUCH! i nearly completely switched off only to be rescued by the rest of the cast and in Particlular the Albin Character whom i was to find out later was intentionally inconsistent (though brilliantly played in each scene) given that Kate is writing him scene by scene as he is what she needs him to be and i actually thought this actor was the best thing in it especially in such a difficult role. don't get me wrong they where all excellent it was the story and self indulgent OTT ranting which put me off as there just didnt seem that much to be that bothered about. having seen the show and sitting with my friend Gail in the bar afterwards sipping a glass of wine somehow feeling touched but perplexed the cast arrived in the bar. i took the chance to talk to Albin (real name Nick) at the bar as he ordered a drink. he was so friendly and gentlemanly (have to say gorgeous) and was really happy to talk about the play so i asked him about it. what he said about it really made a lot of sense to me and cleared up alot of my angst about it and indeed it was he that suggested that i should read the original version of the play. As he said and i found to be true. its a different play when you read it. there sooo much that has been cut out of the production. it is by far a more emotional story than anything else especially between Kate and Albin and you can see why he would want to leave her (which i didnt buy at the time) who are having issues in their real life which we only get a taste of in the play. I'd really like to know your thoughts as i said having just read the book my awareness of it has peaked again. so hope to read a reply from you soon. Mel

11:40 am  

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