17 November 2005

More on this David Farr piece.

I suppose the thing about the Monsterists is a certain attitude that DF, with his laudably catholic tastes, might miss, an assertion of the value of the writer writing original stories for the stage. He surely wouldn't like the species to die out, while devised, multi-screen, multi-mediated theatre thrives. He seems to be arguing for diversity. Well and good, but in setting theatre up as a rival to television and film, in stressing the virtues of the physical, and the visual, rather than the language employed to tickle the audience's brain, there's a risk of slippage, in my view, to a point where the art of scripting a story is debased. The playscript as (an individually wrought) art form is ancient, yes - does this mean it's to be put to sleep?
I remember this all coming up in David Greig's writers' group at Traverse ten years ago. He argued then that as technology mushroomed, as stories gravitated toward screens and away from stages, the art of the original play would become more important, more valuable to audiences, as the proverbial "shared experience", the audience breathing the same air as the actors (as Richard Eyre said somewhere). I wasn't too sure I agreed, back then. I do now, I think he had it spot on. Theatre is thriving, but the playwright, ever so slightly mocked in DF's piece as cleaving to "the Romantic notion of the solitary genius", will have to watch her back.

For more on this, see pm's post, and contributions by David Eldridge (a Monsterist) and others.

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