Thursday, 22 June 2017

Roller Diner

Roller Diner is a musical comedy set in an American diner in the midlands. And it’s about trafficking. Which made me really excited when I heard about it.

It’s setting is a pretty muddling sort of place: with the owner, the daughter, and her boyfriend all feeling a bit caught in their garish but underseasoned (*real review wordplay*) lives, until Marika, who claims to be a Polish immigrant looking for work, turns up and takes the place over.

It was the winner of the Verity Bargate Award for New Writing and it fits into that sweet spot Soho Theatre have of comedy/theatre/cabaret hybrids that don’t quite fit anywhere but are really exciting when they work. And this sounded ambitious. Which it was.

But it seemed to me that there was a really interesting play in need of a stronger sense of itself. It deals with xenophobia and little-Englanders with a deft hand and has some really delightful quirks (*spoiler* one of the characters turns out to be an alien who then returns to Mars, which is completely bonkers but magic) but overall it’s got too many formal tricks going on: the performances veer between slapstick comedy and sentimental anxt; the fourth wall goes up and down without any sense of clarity or consistency; we are never clear whether Marika’s character is a satire of British ideas of Eastern Europeans (she keeps seemingly casting a spell on the diner owner) or just a hole at the centre of the piece.

I also (and this feels odd from someone so completely on-board with musicals) really couldn’t understand why it was a musical? I think it gained little and perhaps lost much. The score was pretty hokey and ill-formed and the songs didn’t open up the experience so much as continually grind it to a halt to have a bit of silly singing (again: I like musicals. I really do. I just don’t think this really utilises the form effectively.)

I particularly liked Ricky Oakley as the boyfriend P.J. – boy, can that actor pull a really funny face – and the performances are all pretty strong. The occasionally wobbly accent from Lucy McCormick (in whose show Triple Threat I practically vomited with admiration, just so we’re clear I’ve nothing against her) just made me wonder why, considering the subject-matter, they would not have cast an actress from Eastern Europe to play this part, but I guess they must have their reasons. It troubled me a bit, though.


Overall, I wish I was able to be more vociferously praising: it’s the sort of misshapen show I have a real soft-spot for, but by the final scene I was a little frustrated by its blunt machinations and its politics didn’t convince me they weren’t a bit worrisome in their underdevelopment.

Oh, and there was zero rollerskating. Zero. I know. I thought so too.

On Why I Shouldn't Have To Pay: Icky vs. Shoddy

The Fringe accredited me this week. Which means they’ll do everything to support me, apart from the one useful thing they might have done: offered free tickets to shows. And I whinged about it on Twitter.

And, as ever, Andrew Haydon was my knight in shining Manchester and was lovely and supportive. And then someone said they didn’t know why the media would even expect free tickets, that they’d never understood it. And that’s when it all started.

I bowed out of the succeeding conversation: replies came and went and I didn’t want to get into it, really. But not because I wasn’t interested. And not because I didn’t disagree with the premise. But because the more I dug into the reason why I think it’s probably important that “the media” get their tickets comped by theatres, the more I felt like my arguments were either icky or shoddy.

So, here’s a game of icky vs. shoddy played out in the form of a dialogue in my head:

ME: I like theatre, I go see far more than the average person, I write about it afterwards. I will have to go see less stuff, write about less stuff, if I have to buy my own tickets. That would be bad.

ALSO ME: Wah wah. Loads of people want to be able to go see every show they want to but they can’t because they have to pay, why is that fair?

ME: Well, they don’t write about it afterwards, do they?

ALSO ME: They do, they just do it on Twitter.

ME: So, it’s a problem of social media turning every act of opinion into unpaid labour?

ALSO ME: I don’t understand why you insist on politicising everything, you crumbling Marxist zealot.

ME: Yes.

ALSO ME: So, you conceive of reviewing as a service for which you deserve to be paid a nominal fee?

ME: Sure.

ALSO ME: Monosyllabic, aren't we? So, if this is what theatre reviewing is relegated to – by your own definition, a service reviewers provide for theatres for a fee, small or otherwise, in the form of free spectatorship – then is this not progress towards the sort of activity your (my) new BFFs at the Fringe are taking part in, where reviewing becomes no more active an agent in theatre than an extension of the marketing department.

ME: I think everyone’s pretty tired of this conceit.

ALSO ALSO ME: We are. You’re right.

So.

I really believe in criticism. That’s why the strength of this counterargument really worried me.

Critical engagement with theatre, at its best, is a dialogic relationship, where work that is struggling to find a voice gets amplified, work that is receiving a lack of scrutiny is put into focus, and, perhaps most importantly, performance practice, dewy and ephemeral, finds a record.

Good press helps companies make applications down the line, helps writers, directors, actors get gigs because they can say “hey, look at this insubstantial proof of my worth”. Press, for small companies, validates their existence. This reason, along with interest in theatre, is the primary reason I think this blog is worth anything at all. That’s good.

But it also sells tickets. This is the only reason theatres pay for it. The PR or Marketing departments organise it because it gets bums on seats. Which is fine. I guess.

And that’s it. That’s the reason. It doesn’t negate the validity of what you can do but it’s a pretty disturbing conclusion to be coming to and as fewer and fewer traditional news sources defend their arts coverage, there are fewer and fewer people who would be able to, even if they wanted to, pay for their own tickets.

Reviewing online – outside of those who are just doing it out of good grace and the love of it – I include myself in that number – is necessarily going to become pulled closer and closer into an extension of a sales department.

You already feel it: good reviews – AWFUL reviews excepted – get shared way more favorably than tepid ones by theatres. Caveated reviews don’t get clicks. Clicks sell adverts. Adverts keep people doing the writing of reviews.

So, that sort of stupid comment on Twitter ends up making me feel a bit sick. Because this blog and my accreditation don’t matter, of course they don’t. But it worries me that the best argument I can come up with for why they should give me free tickets is because I’ll help sell tickets. Because that’s shit.

So, please, give us some hope and offer me another reason. Point out a theatre working with reviewers to help theatre ecology and not just get another shmuck to buy a ticket to This House. Please.


Also, obviously, it goes without saying, the Fringe can go fuck themselves.

P.S. This is all without even thinking about the argument about why the price of the ticket is actually a ridiculous payment for labour in the first place, because I'm tired and cross and it's so fucking hot and if you want to read about that you should go read Duška's brilliant book about how we're all simultaneously fucked and not fucked right now. Actually, just do that anyway because I worry I basically said next to nothing in this post and she says loads of interest in that book.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Nothing Is Coming The Pixels Are Huge

Banging name for a show, I thought. I’ll give that a crack. And, handily, Theatre 42’s show has buckets of really interesting stuff to shout about.

It’s loads of boxes. More boxes than you’d think you’d ever see onstage. Maybe a thousand? And some characters in a future world who have had their memories uploaded use the boxes to build a landscape. A projector colours the landscape and then they tell you what they remember it being. Boxes turn from rivers, to roads, then shops, then houses, and then the characters aren’t characters and then the memories are maybe not memories either. And a world is made and unmade and then you remember it’s always just been cardboard and light.

Which sounds sort of facile. Which it isn’t. It’s a smart, nice premise – visualising cybermemory as packets of data that can be reconstituted at will but that might not hold any real-world significance. Clever, right?

And over the course of the hour, they reformulate and deconstruct this central idea in interesting ways. The playing-style of it was very World Without Us by Ontroroend Goed* but with more projector. And more boxes. (There really were fuckloads of boxes. I almost couldn’t deal.) And at its best it rung with some of the sensitive lyricism that imbued that whole masterful show.

And the design (for which it very deservedly won a specially-created award at NSDF) is sort of extraordinary. I don’t understand how people this young and this not funded and this fledgling company-y managed to pull out a show that looks and feels as expansive (note I’m not using expensive as a byword for quality) as this.

My main thought was that any of the professional designers for the shoddy, tatty work that I’ve seen over the past year at bigger theatres should really take a look at this show and feel very cowed. These are students with, presumably approximately zero budget, and the show looks and feels beautiful.

I think there was occasional misfiring of tone: sometimes the performances became just a little bit sincere and performer-y for me. And I was also hoping for slightly more in way of approaching a development in the idea – there’s something really fruitful around fungible pockets of reality but I’m not sure this show sticks to that idea, instead it lurches more towards shonky sci-fi, which felt tonally a little strange. I wondered whether it was deliberately going for absurdly bad descriptions of the future cf. the monologues from Escaped Alone but I’m not sure they weren’t just a bit naff. No. That’s rude. Not naff. Just a tad sincere. But they were a sincere bunch, so I don’t want to shit all over that sincerity. IT WAS ALL GREAT!! Feel free to quote me.

I really have essentially got only praise for them. To have made a show this compelling and thoughtful and, Christ, this unmarketable (“it’s a show about a box being a bus. it’s really good promise.”) is an act of enormous integrity and I almost had a little weep at the end because there was only one box left undescribed. And then I remembered it was a fucking box and I told myself to get a grip.

*Both shows seem to chime interestingly with the great decentralising the human work Dark Mountain are doing over here, but that’s by the by.


Nothing Is Coming The Pixels Are Huge is part of the magnificent, ludicrously brilliant, totally wondrous Incoming Festival at the New Diorama Theatre. The festival showcases emerging companies from across the country all this week (and NDT's Artistic Director David is officially the nicest man in the whole wide world and if you go this week you should say hello and ask how his ankle's doing).

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Ponyboy Curtis vs.

“Humans believe themselves free of fear when there is no longer anything unknown. This has determined the path of demythologization, of enlightenment, which equates the living with the nonliving as myth had equated the nonliving with the living. Enlightenment is mythical fear radicalized. The pure immanence of positivism, its ultimate product, is nothing other than a form of universal taboo. Nothing is allowed to remain outside, since the mere idea of the “outside” is the real source of fear.”

At the end of Ponyboy Curtis’ new show vs., six young male performers, sweaty and exhausted, repeatedly charge right at the audience. They run sometimes together, sometimes apart, always as if for the first time, always with an exuberant, fearsome energy,  always seemingly forgetting that they have to come to a stop as soon as starting. Over this Dinah Washington, enveloped in Max Richter’s soul-crushing orchestration, sings “What good am I? Heaven only knows… Today you’re young/ Too soon you’re old.” I’ve rarely felt more brokenhearted.

This isn’t going to be a review. Not that I really do reviews but I’m not sure I have it in me to try, genuinely. I’m just going to try to explain some of what I thought about and felt during this extraordinary piece. Because I’ve no idea what “happened” or what it was “about”. It seemed about everything – what is a man? what is a human? what are we doing? – and nothing – these people seem nice. that willy is bigger than that willy. this is weird.

Ponyboy Curtis sells itself as a queer boyband collective: all twinky sex-party, radical loveplay, unsimulated sex. And that’s there. But what the show did at its most basic for me, in a way that knocked me off my feet, is to remythologise male sexuality; to offer a reconstitution of what it means to be a man and how men can relate to their bodies and each other.

The show repeatedly constructs rituals in which the boys play: it begins with a game of spin-the-bottle, where the Ponyboys number off and decide who’s doing what and then, well, and then they go free. It is constructed around (inspired, accompanied, supported by?) Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and features games in which the company run around their tribal circle made of clothes and select items of absurdly hipsterish garms that they then have to put on as quickly as possible and then continue running. As this speeds up, they can’t quite manage it, they throw clothes at each other, the whole thing collapses. They come to the front of the stage, they leap in micro-balletic gestures, staring above the audience’s head, hoping someone will do something, aware that no-one will.

These are people experiencing living with their naked bodies in front of an audience for the first time: I was at the first performance at The Yard, so this is quite precisely accurate for this newly formed iteration of the collective. They experimented with their own bodies and with others’. They exposed themselves in ways they felt comfortable with and occasionally in ways they might not have done.

You get the uncanny sense that, while this show is intended for an audience, it could happen without their presence. I didn’t feel ignored so much as entrenchedly complicit as a voyeur to a spectacle that invited the gaze. It is [here’s Benjamin again (promise I’ll explain the long quote above from Adorno in a bit)] the most clear example of Benjamin’s idea of “aura”, “distance as close as it can be”, that I have seen.

As the piece reaches its startling “climax” [I feel this word’s absurdity as soon as writing it, but the climactic moment of The Rite matches it, so I feel at least slightly bolstered] the selected sacrifice is made: ritualistic markings are drawn on the excluded figure, he is then forced [or merely observed in the act by the other performers] to spin round and round, dizzying himself, completely naked, falling on the ground, reeling from the fall, recovering, spinning, falling, recovering, spinning, falling, until you feel that this might never end, you feel that surely this is not funny any more, if it ever was, the human tissue in front of you becomes viscerally unhinged from our accepted sense of what we do together to each other and how community is formed.

And then they hug. And they kiss. And they are bonded. The sacrifice over, the sacrificial figure re-merges with the group.

–––––––––––

As I was walking to the theatre beforehand I spotted at a distance that there were a group of young men on the street outside their school, probably about fourteen years-old, and they were attacking each other. They were holding one of the boys against the wall by his neck.

I was pretty panicked. All the things ran through my head that run through your head at that moment: fuck me, there are loads of them, what if they attack me back, but I should do something because I’m a sort of grown-up, but what if they’re just… And then the boy emerged from the brawl and he was beaming, all full of eccentric, bombastic confidence. And I remembered exactly that sort of horrible, testy, unpleasant, exhilarating contact – simultaneously violent and erotic – that used to make up my daily life between the ages of fourteen and sixteen. I doubt anyone emerged from adolescence without at least one example of it: the sort of physical contact that just doesn’t happen after a certain age, thank Christ, but that is peculiarly formative and uncodifiable.

That’s what this show, it seems to me, is about: the strange relationship between masculine sexuality and violence, the terror and exhilaration of male bonding that is allowed here to exist outside of normative homosocial structures. Because this piece, it should be said, is not locker-room. This is about as queer and radical and warmhearted a show as I’ve seen. It is a frank and nuanced depiction of male bodies as they could be, were they allowed to exist in a culture as open and free as the one this show invites. And effing fuck it’s brave.

–––––––––––

The reason I started this piece with a quote from Dialectic of Enlightenment (apart from because it’s brilliant and I want you to think I’m clever) is because they are talking about fear: about culture’s desire to reign in those things that do not fit within antinomous or dialectical relations, about demythologisation in order to disregard the terror of not-knowing. This show, it seems to me, reasserts and examines the excesses at the world: it stares right at the terrifying, noisy stuff that makes up our barest selves, and generates a performance that is simultaneously beautiful and horrifying.


Quite a lot more than just a twinky boyband. But also that too. I urge you to go.


Punts

An upper-middle class couple employ the services of a sex-worker to take the virginity of their 25-year old son with learning difficulties.

That’s the plot of Sarah Page’s Punts, which just opened at Theatre503. And what’s weird is I kind of liked it. Stay with me.

I’m going to start with the positives. It’s design by Amelia Jane Hankin is properly good: these glowing neon tubes gesturing simultaneously towards a bay window in an upscale London home, a sort of seventies Americana neon altar, and a garish strip club. They glow in different colours, casting erotic shadows on the characters as they strut offstage in between scenes, as this synthy sound design by Owen Crouch pumps out at you. I’ve made all of that sound cooler than it was, and it certainly does take a lot of cues from Kuleshov’s previous production at 503, BU21, but it was pretty neatly constructed (in a space where I normally see quite naff design altogether).

The play as textual object is really well-structured: satisfying scenes galore, chockful of subtext and properly interesting argument, only slightly losing its way in the latter half. It pretty much never – I think this is testament, as ever, to actor, writer, and director – lapses into preachiness or lyricism, even as a housewife character has an argument with a sex worker about their different life-choices *cue Billington applause* – and all the characters get moments to really make big choices and disclose themselves and their complex motivations. And it’s really funny: kudos to all the cast and the director whose nuanced performances allow moments of silence to be palpably clear while also offering genuinely insightful interactions between people in a tight spot – GOD, PLEASE JUST DON’T.

So, I enjoyed it. That’s that. I did. More than a lot of shows I’ve seen at 503. It was dramatic and lived in the real-world, in a “now” I recognise (I’m still reeling from Escape the Scaffold at 503, still one of the weirdest “contemporary” plays I’ve ever seen) and I enjoyed the characters and the story seemed well-told.

But, well, and.

There’s a few problems, aren’t there. As ever. And as ever, they are ideological *snore*. Feel free to switch off now.

Even if I sidle past (as the play does) the fact of a sex worker sleeping with a man with learning difficulties, who does not seem very much to want to have sex, I think you’re left with a political conundrum that contrives a few too many "haha that’s funny moments" not to leave a bit of a sour taste in the mouth. Or at least my fairly flawed, subjective mouth.

And then, and I know after that this seems small fry, there’s the problem of representation. Because this play’s politics are, under the surface, a bit grubby.

The white family onstage are very upper-middle-class-and-don’t-we-get-plenty-of-sub-Ayckbourn-gags-about-it (“we have lots of teas” stuck in the craw).

That’s fine. Sure.

But the barrister father is a bit of a hardworking nice bloke, who might really want to get it off with the younger prostitute; the housewife mother is a bit of a list-making obsessive, who is jealous of the younger, sexualised woman’s presence. The sex worker character’s real overarching dream is to have a husband to take care of her (or to earn enough money to be a care worker). And the son’s dream is to get a girlfriend and be like the other boys.

The final image *spoiler* is of the father asking the mother out on a date, while the sex worker has buggered off to try to go and be a carer and the son has gone to the rugby club alone.

So, a complex play about lots of stuff, is, at the structural level, about the restitution of the traditional family (women as care-givers, men as sexy, strong sexmen). Which is, I think, for unexpected reasons considering all the traps the play could have fallen into (representation of sex workers AND learning differences in one play), why this play is niggling my brain.

Anyway, good performances nonetheless and I’d really recommend going, if only to tell me I’m wrong and how.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Nel

Nel is a tiny joy. It’s about a young, introverted female foley artist trying to get out more, basically, and I liked it because, well, because it was really sweet and well-made and well-performed.

And actually I think a lot smarter than you might at first think: there are complicated things you can read about how form and content were matching up  – a girl obsessed with fake sound, attempts to fake an identity in order to fit in (geddit) – and I think there’s a lot of quite progressive, supportive, useful stuff about gender here – it was really nice to see an all-female company telling a story in which they hadn’t felt culturally cajoled (culturjoled?) into putting men into their narrative.

There’s a really nice bit where Nel struggles to put a coat on for ages and they use physical theatre to keep pulling her coat on and off that I thought sort of beautifully explored the way that peculiar quotidian anxieties can become magnified until they become enormous.

It’s sort of, I guess, a shame that they don’t push the story further and try to see what their particular forms can best express about this character –  they sort of just accept that they’ve got an arc to tell and that a thumbnail will help them get to the end of it and so they go after telling it. And that’s fine, I guess. I think these really talented people could probably have figured it out. But it’s fine.

Because at it's heart it’s a bunch of fun singing and some really innovative lighting and I’m a sucker for some foley artistry (“a bird! with rubber gloves! WHAT!?”).

And Scratchworks were beaming so much at the bows that I beamed with them, so basically, despite myself, I was charmed: how lovely to have a nice time with a bunch of people in a room, you know.


Nel is part of the magnificent, ludicrously brilliant, totally wondrous Incoming Festival at the New Diorama Theatre (who were very nice to me when I arrived soggy and stressed). The festival showcases emerging companies from across the country all this week.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Killology or Extraneous Stezaker

Any excuse to put more Stezaker in front of the world.
I love John Stezaker. You look at half of it and you’re like, yeah, got this, and then the collage, interruption and fantasy bringing richer meaning to the other half, throws you off balance, makes you really think.

I was thinking about this last night as I sat there a bit dizzy from Killology, Gary Owen’s new play currently playing at the Royal Court.

I came out at the interval into the blistering sunlight and I thought, “ho hum” (I didn’t really but I could have done) “this isn’t any great shakes. But Lyn liked it? What gives?”. But by the end, well, never think you know better than Lyn Gardner is all I can say.

All the reasons I disliked it were at the level of plot: three intersecting monologues tell the story of a millionaire game designer who comes up with a gruesome torture porn fantasy bestseller, where the more gruesome the crime, the more points you gain; a young man in a fantastical, troubled environment where violent gangs have complete control, is subject to a gruesome game-inspired attack; and the absent father of the young man, who goes on an *spoiler* attempted kidnap and torture mission of the millionaire in order to exact revenge and teach the world a lesson after the boy’s death.

So, IMO monologue plays suffer from three frustrations: 1) the mic-drop ending to sections – “and then I stared up and the sky went black”; 2) the poetic google search problem – “I read this really interesting article about how in the civil war people loaded their guns repeatedly and that tells me blah”; and 3) the deflating incidence question – what precisely is gained by you telling me this, rather than writing a well-crafted scene [an, I would opine, much more difficult task]? The first half was covered in all three, fat with them. I promise. There was some magic writing but it wasn’t good.

I was also, centrally, questioning the merits of such an avowedly cyberphobic play: do we really need to be told that violent games are a bit horrid and that fantasy violence might breed further violence? I’m not some seasoned gamer, but I can just feel the aged audience at the Court all wringing their hands afterwards, as they send their grandchildren to poetry recitals and thanking God that nasty gamers are being seen to by theatre. It just seems weird (and dated, somehow: the trend in culture and in gaming, post-Saw and the heights of GTA, I would argue, is away from this sort of violence for the sake of violence, but I can’t prove that.)

*Right but what? You liked it? Doesn’t fucking sound like it.*

But the second half *WOW*. All the assumptions I’d made about how this straight play was just simple and straightforward came rattling down. The fantasies build up, the characters shift between real and unreal, and the resonances between the stories become more thematic that storyworlds colliding. As their narratives pull in different directions, the form of the piece starts to collapse in on itself and the real complexity of what’s been happening started to make my head hurt.

It’s majestic, that second half. Properly. It made me remember why I loved Iphigenia in Splott so much when I saw it: Gary Owen, as well as having soaring characters and effulgent imagery, is also a really heartfelt writer with a proper grip on what this particular form can do.

Because the thing monologue plays do really well, is collapse and resonate with each other in unexpected ways. And make you question any and all of what you’re observing simultaneous with it happening. And that happens in buckets in the close of this play.

And all of this without mentioning the sound, which was tremendous, the lighting, which stuck out to me as really grounding and groundless as and when it needed to be, and the performances, which from Sion Daniel Young in particular, were subtle and skilful for the most part [Robert Downey Jr. got on my tits a bit, but that’s maybe unfair, it was a trickily nasty part]. I thought the design was fine – I’m not sure a black land of wires tangled like seaweed isn’t a little overdoing it for a play about a lot more than just the internet’s place in the world – but I guess the black blackness of it did make them all pop.

So, overall: The first half is too long, definitely, and I’m amazed it wasn’t sorted out in the dramaturgical process, but I was very close to leaving a play at the interval that would absolutely reward a second viewing. So, more fucking fool me.


Saturday, 3 June 2017

Cheap Essays: The Trouble With Acausal Theatre

This is the first in a series of bulletpoints masquerading as academic discourse, because I want a fucking answer but other people actually get paid to do this work. If anything's muddy, let me know. WARNING: There will be Zizek.

Causality is a hallmark of serious plays in the Shavian tradition. Time, in these plays, works by cause-and-effect: because X does Y, Z happens.

This reenforcement of mores of bogus causality through culture teaches us to conceive of the world not as a set of fungible social relations – which it is – but as a locked-in system, one in which we are set on a route without power to change it.

What contemporary theatre, with its particular focus on acausality in time implies, is that the world is not like this: that the locus of power cannot be found, that there is no-one at fault for any action, that the world is a mess of causes to which we are subject and powerless.

Think of Neilson’s Realism, debbie tucker green’s stoning mary, Eldridge’s Incomplete and Random Acts of Kindness, Crimp’s… well, Crimp: the world happens to characters, it would be an absurd affront – a lie in the gravest terms – to impose narratives of causality on a world so absent of reason.

Beeecause, the argument continues, that’s the world. The world is a wash of complex causes and incomprehensible connections: hyperlinks stretching in flexible bands, each one more elastically blameless than the last.

Right. That all sounds good.

However, and here’s my question: absenting causality and reason from the world of the play turns every play, because we are enculturated to do so, into a search for causality itself as an idea.

The frustration at the heart of a text, where before it might have been directed at bankers, or hypocrites, or liars, or murderers, or thieves, or any number of “villains” is now directed at the very idea of causality, at its lack.

And this in turn leaves the audience observing acausality with a reinforcement of the idea a) that blame is not clearcut and b) that the world is in desperate need not of less control and authority but of more, from whatever its source. Because, to answer b), if this is what the world looks like with an absent hand on the rudder, I’d like my hand a whole lot more present, thank you very much (cf Trump) and to answer a) well, thank god we don’t have to go after any of the people deserving blame because everyone is equally blameless, so let’s not try to protest tyrants or hypocrites or bankers, because we're all fucked (cf Trump ad absurdum).

Perhaps my problem stems from a slavish belief that their are moral goods: e.g. economic inequality, and those who prosper from economic inequality, are bad. And that should be stated. There are people who are the cause of other people’s suffering. Basically, causality is not the problem, capitalism is.

And my concern is that this acausal theatre – so deeply attempting to reflect (and I can only imagine deconstruct*) the messiness of the politics of our age – is actually, in Zizekian terms [*wanker alert*], an inherent transgression, which reinforces, by demonstrating the limits of our neoliberal, capitalist culture, those limits themselves.

So, to conclude: it's not that this theatre is aesthetically bad or boring or pretentious or any of the other things my mum would level at it – it's that its form is another covert form of ideological submission given in the form of protest.

Right. Now, please pick holes and prove me wrong.



*This may be the stumbling block and this theatre may be attempting nothing of the sort, in which case my question would be, why the fuck doesn’t it just tell a story from A to B, then?