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Too much greasepaint, too few crowds

Wednesday, 9 February, 2011

Should we bother about theatre any more?

The first play I bought a ticket for still lives in my mind. I must have been about sixteen. It was a production of Aristophanes’ Frogs, and it was performed at the old Castle Theatre in Farnham, a long-dead repertory theatre that would have held no more than 100 or so people.

As I had been when watching the travelling groups of actors who played pirate tales or Robin Hood in the hall at my primary school, I was utterly transfixed. It even distracted me from the discouraging financial aspects of that evening.

I had bought a ticket for a girl if you really must know. ( I thought it might be the springboard for a further relationship). The money had been borrowed. The fact that she was totally unmoved, except possibly by the fact that my friend Richard, who took us there, had permission to borrow his father’s car, should have alerted me to major difficulties ahead. But as I say, I was distracted.

I couldn’t get over two things in particular: the play was funny (it was written by an Ancient Greek for crying out loud), and despite the ‘set’ consisting of two or three lumps of something, I was there, looking across to the underworld by the Styx, totally taken in, even though no frog in England has ever made a noise like Reck-ek-ek-ex, co-ax, co-ax, co-ax.

Read the rest of this article in Issue 3 of Inkspill magazine. Free download at www.inkspillmagazine.com

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