22 July 2007

Uncanny resemblance, today has, to a day last year. Back from the Isle of Wight, SeaView, lovely time, boys tremendous fun, much niceness, mountain of work waiting when I got back. Unlike last year though I'm not feeling sudden crisis-y and my general wellbeing is, well, well.

I confess.
I'd never read or seen a play by the extremely well-regarded writer Robert Holman, until yesterday. RH's work has elicited sighs and purrs of admiration from many a theatre person I look up to, and my secret ignorance of the talent that inspires them had been weighing me down. So I've made a very belated start, on the protracted journey back from IOW last eve. (The protraction, and the fact I was travelling sans famille, is a whole other quite uninteresting story.)
Other Worlds is set among the fishing and farming communities in North Yorkshire at the end of the 18th century (as you probably already know, but bear with me). Stylistically, the writing is light on its feet, the dialogue true and full of intention, they are really speaking to each other. In this play at least - I don't know if it's typical of his work - Holman has no truck with the shadow-boxy kind of playwriting, or the drama of isolation, and while yes people do have secrets and tell lies, the principle at work is that people want to be true, they want to love and be loved, they want to speak to each other, they're just finding it tough, and the reasons why, the obstacles, are the engine of the play.
I found it all very moving, in the sense that I felt for the characters and responded to the action, sure, but also that it sparks the imagination, it reaches the critical mass of imaginative force that only the truly talented writer is capable of, tipping the spectator, auditor, reader into another state, such that he is alive to that other world, feels its potentialities and its sorrows. What can I say. I loved it, and as with so many other things I'm discovering in my early middle age, I'm only sorry it's taken me this long.


David Eldridge said...

There are more riches to come with Holman if you want to read more!

You should have a look at MAKING NOISE QUIETLY and ACROSS OKA which are modern classics.

Glad you liked it. It is a disgrace to our culture that Robert isn't prized as he should be.

sbs said...

I will, I will.
The Overgrown Path is in the book (NHB)with Other Worlds, so that's next, when I finish Ackroyd's Dickens, 800 pages down, only 300 to go...