Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Max Stafford Clark

I took Leeloo to an obscure theatre in calle Pradillo. Max Stafford Clark lecturing about Caryl Churchill. I poked him into coming clean on his view on the dilemna "director vs playwriter who's god after all'". Russian theatre aknowledges that directors have studied under masters and are the ones who interpret reality through carefully coded nuances of long known texts. In Britain reality is given by the text itself so writers come first. MSC makes the point that successful engagés playwriters like Pinter or Hare or Churchill are frustrated and ambivalent about their writing because it didn't change the world as they had set out to do. Almost implying a disapointement that theatre has not revealed itself as a tool for raising the awareness of class conscience! MSc later on notes thetre has completed holes in his education, has completed his knowlegde of things he had just a superficial idea. Theatre, he says, does not compete with TV but with journalism. Is that the theatre I fell for? Theatre as journalism (what would have Chekov make of it?). A good supper at an italian restaurant followed. The menu has the famous black and white photo of Sophia Loren side looking in desbelief at the size and exposure of Ms. Jane Mansfield's mamary features.
The whole dinner turned into some kind of people's court judging one's shortcomings as both father and lover. Pretty much group-analysis stuff. They were seated in front of me, and I had to lob answers and counter-arguments, volleying to the other side of the risotto line the acusatory shots. Very theatrical. Emotions overflowing but with the director keeping a firm grip on the actors. After the malevolous grapa, returning home and resisting the tempation to get the first available taxi, we come across a alternative live music cafe. Ska music with a lead singer as self-assured as Manu Chao. The gig to present their new CD ends up being an almost full live version of the said CD. But the question of what's theatre for you kept lurking in the horizon of consciousness. I want to think of theater as the ultimate intelectual challenge to your sense of know thouself. Interaction of real bodies carrying ideas and emotions we have to be aware of and deal with. Leeloo might end up studying acting in Rada or the Guildhall, she will be able to tell me more about all that. But first she will have to come to terms with her daughter-father disappointements. Curtain falls.

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