Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

What theatre is for

When I go and see a play I really only need one thing to happen for it to be a successful experience. I need to feel something. I need something to happen to me emotionally. It helps to care about one or more of the characters. Usually, if you care about someone on stage you care about what happens to them; the change they go through. Even feeling strong emotions of antipathy can be good. I love being brought to tears by a real life performance on stage; and I cry at the weirdest things.

If I am transported to another world that is a bonus. If the premise, proposition, characters and situation are so completely foreign but the emotions are universal that is even more special. That is how we can watch theatre in another language that we don’t understand the words to and still be moved. Be moved. That’s what I am talking about.

Whenever I am teaching or facilitating improv I always say, “allow what happens in your scene to move you, to change you. Be affected by what happens.” If players do this the scene usually always works, regardless of plot, location or anything else. And the same goes for scripted theatre.

In the last while I have seen a few things where the people/characters on stage are so busy being and doing (often busy being and doing something extremely clever) that the reasons for them doing it aren’t clear. And then that becomes hard to watch, even if the actors doing it are really very good.

Tonight I saw Chickens, the winning play in the Imbewu Scribe competition, written by Gabriella Pinto and directed by Tara Louise Nottcutt. It has one of my favourite actors, Adrian Galley in it. It is an interesting premise. And I just didn’t get it. Not even a little bit. It’s not that I didn’t understand what was going on, I just didn’t understand why. And I was bored and frustrated and completely unmoved. Oh blah.

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7 Comments

  1. Adrian Galley

    Ag, I’m sorry. Maybe next time?

  2. Derrick

    Hi Megan

    Don’t know where else to post this…seeing that this is the most recent post, i thought here would be fit.

    Keen to hear what your thoughts were on ‘I am Hamlet’. Even though the runs is over…

    thx

  3. megan

    Just when I thought I was going to get away with it! I didn’t enjoy it much at all. I found the script one dimensional and difficult to believe and the direction uninteresting and not specific enough. Leon’s director character bordered on caricature and Aiden’s was largely incomprehensible. It didn’t make any sense. So, I must confess I was bored and disconnected.

    And then there was the small problem of me seemingly being the only one who didn’t like it much. It was a bit of a trend with me last week.

  4. Derrick

    Thanks Megan

    I really disliked this production too! REALLY! I cannot understand what the hype was about either…

    But I am concerned; why did you ‘almost get away with it.’? I thought this was a no holds barred blog…? Why would you want to get away with anything? Besides possibly offending someone…?

    mmmm…

  5. megan

    I meant by ‘getting away with it’ that because I had seen it on its penultimate night I shouldn’t write about it, because it would have been pointless really. I meant that I would have gotten away with the crap job of having to say I didn’t like it and then explain why.

  6. What are your opinions on experimental “meta” theatre, out of interest? you mention needing to be fully immersed in a play to feel the full potential of its emotional impact, but surely it can be argued that another thing theatre is for is to force us to question it as a medium, think about it critically as an art… in which case a performance which takes you out of the illusion and makes you see it *as performance* is valuable in itself?

  7. megan

    Awe, confusion, intellectual stimulation, critical dissection are all part of what happens after you have been moved or changed. I personally don’t want to watch the discourse.

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