06 July 2006

Well I told you Rooney would get sent off. No s***, Sherlock, you might reasonably reply.
Reasons to be cheerful: just as Arsenal are my adopted 2nd club team, so I decided to support France after their magnifique win against Spain, led by Zinedine 'The Sorcerer' Zidane. Had England not imploded, and gone on to meet Les Bleus in the semi, I'd've been in footie heaven. As it is, I'm just glad Zizou and his merry men are in the final on Sunday. Had it been Portugal v Italy, World Cup fatigue may have struck, with the finishing line in sight.
*July 12 postscript - too depressed about the final for words. Une catastrophe. Bitter indeed to recall that Materazzi was once an Everton player. The shame.

Been to see three plays at the National lately. Market Boy is considerably shorter than it was in preview!, but it's better for it, smart and fast and funny. The bawdiness, the bluster, the extra-larger-than-lifeness of the market creatures, the sarkiness of the politics - all that reminded me, at last, of Aristophanes.

I'm no student of Chekhov, I take the productions as I find them, so The Seagull was to me not the desecration seen by some critics, but a strange and seductive experience. Soporific, in a good way. There was an ominous soundtrack underscoring a lot of the action, I found that fascinating, unsettling. Sadly for me, the people in front of me broke out in giggles as Ben Whishaw made his preparations at the end of the play. So the climax was kind of ruined. I will say, actually, the tinkering with the last line was all wrong, not on principle, but because it just didn't work.

When I saw The Life of Galileo in the Olivier I was perhaps a bit overtired, distracted. I think it's a great play but it was an effort to join in and believe and be tense and worried and partial, while listening to David Hare's version for over three hours, while perched near the roof of that hangar. There are two intervals, the third act is overlong. Yes, Sir David, it is one of the great plays about intellectual betrayal and all that. But actually, the intellectual in the drama is quite simple, and though the timespan of the action is thirty years, Brecht's play zips along when you read it, sketching its way through Galileo's ups and downs. So why did the third act feel so interminable?

Meanwhile I'm redrafting The May Queen, which is hard work, but I'm sure it's supposed to be. The news is that where I used to say I was writing a version of the story of Orestes set in WW2 Liverpool, it's now probably truer to say it's an Electra. I'll soon be up in Liverpool working on it for a week with Serdar Bilis and a gang of actors. Yikes.


Tom said...

Hey Stephen,

Just thought I'd drop you a line and say you've inspired me to get my own blog. Probably a bit drier than yours, but nevermind ...

See you at the next 50 thing.

paul shingler said...

Stephen....Arsenal?....adopted second team?...o tempora o mores lad...once a blue always a blue...none of this second team mularkey! Anyway, I'm with you on the 'Allez les Bleus' front for the final...let me know when you're coming up to the Pool...long holidays approaching...if you fancied a get together...à bientôt!

sbs said...

Nice one, Tom, look forward to checking in to see what you're up to.

Paul, it's more a case of Stockholm syndrome than anything else, everyone's a Gooner round our way. But also, for me, their 'invincible' season made it impossible not to like them.