21 May 2006
Saw NIGHT-LIGHT twice last week, first preview and press night. Camille (left) was under the weather for the first show, and the pacing was a bit off as a consequence, but it was still absorbing stuff, and fascinating for me to hear which bits of my text were to the fore and which had been cut - it was always the deal that they would use as much or as little as they needed. Imagine my rising anxiety as ten minutes passed without me recognising anything..! But thereafter there was plenty. And I have to wonder whether I will ever again hear my writing spoken by a performer suspended in mid-air, turning gracefully, smiling Sphinx-like.
Thursday's show was more, I don't know, in the moment. And Camille, cold shaken off, was a wow. She plays a sort of shadow creature, the id to Sinead's sleepless woman's ego. The whole thing's an exploration of the by-ways we wander in our minds when we can't get to sleep. It's very intimate, sensual. Perhaps too much so for us dry text guys. Ben Yeoh sweetly came to the first show and afterwards he and I were all of a flutter, like a pair of old maids who'd wandered into the Moulin Rouge by mistake. When B saw the publicity shot she put on her best Beavis & Butthead voice: "You've written a lesbo dance spectacular."
More welcome freebies from the Royal Court last night ('the 50' writers are being offered regular comps). Upstairs I saw Christopher Shinn's play Dying City, which seemed a perfect complement to Motortown, playing its last night in the Downstairs. Both paint a portrait of a soldier brought to crisis by the Iraq conflict, and both posit the idea that the terror we're warring against is internal, domestic, endemic. The rage of Caliban seeing his face in a glass. I was blown away by Shinn's work. It's a two-hander with three characters - the brilliant Andrew Scott plays twin brothers, opposite the equally impressive Sian Brooke. I was very affected by the play and their performances, so couldn't contemplate staying for the other show, starting just ten minutes later - Mark Ravenhill's solo performance in his Product. Bought a copy instead.
Off to Oxford later to see Clare Higgins in a one-off preview of Colin Teevan's latest, Seven Pomegranate Seeds. It's the first production funded by The Onassis Programme for the Performance of Greek Drama, and they're having a launch at Oxford Playhouse. They're going to be funding six productions over the next two years, of Greek plays, or works inspired by the Greeks. Needless to say, I'm all in favour.