Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Ode to Theatre

Tomorrow begins my week's break from the constant activity and work that is school life. I have very few plans; I hope to spend the majority of my time sleeping, returning to blogging properly, possibly running and regrettably, writing countless essays. I only have one concrete plan in the whole duration and that is a trip to the theatre.

It may sound corny, but one of my favourite things to do is go see a play. When I was younger, I would go perhaps once every one or two months, because my parents would take me and each of these occasions were extra-special. Now with my independence comes the freedom to gorge myself on plays and thus in these past few months I have been going more and more; most of my allowance now goes on theatre trips as opposed to dresses - is it a crime to confess that?

One of my good friends always pronounces the word 'theatre' as thee-etter. Rhyming with better. I can never fail to laugh at this height of pretension, because to me, theatre (pronounced the normal way) is an entirely un-pretentious experience. The last time I went to see a film, it cost me more than the play I'd seen the weekend before that. I'm not rich by any means, and I appreciate that I'm very lucky because in London, there is such a wealth of theatres, all offering a million and one ways of procuring cheap, or even free tickets. I am very proud of the fact that I have recently seen two plays absolutely free.

Today I got the news that I am going to attend a press night for a play and write a short review for it - that is what inspired me to write this ode to plays. Why do I love them? They pull you in, make you laugh, make you sad and make you think. The atmosphere in a theatre beats a film any day. Plus something about a bargain ticket seems to thrill me.

But I have a problem. As I have said, I am going to this play not as a theatre-goer, but as a critic. And to me, criticising a play is as alien as, well, aliens. The one time I can remember not enjoying a play, it was the hottest day of the year and I was in an open air theatre, completely alone without any suncream or sunhat watching a word-for-word production of Shakespeare's Macbeth, a play I'd never seen or read before at the time. I think that's understandable, but the premier of a new play by an acclaimed author (co-incidentally I'm taking aforementioned good friend)? I'm not sure I'll be able to find anything not to like.

A picture I took of the stage in my pre-show excitement when seeing Rainman last month


  1. I do think gong as a critic changes the theater going experience. It is lovely to the free ticket. But, I have always felt that I cannot surrender to the experience in the same way. I have to view the play from a more objective POV. It is still fun but it is different. I hope you have a great time.

  2. You're not obligated to find anything wrong, or everything right with any play, even just as a playgoer, not a critic.

    You're a sensitive person. I know you'll remember that the playwright, director, cast, and crew poured themselves into this piece of work, and you'll respect it accordingly.