Winter – July 2011

2/10

By: Jon Fosse

Directed by: Teunkie van der Sluijs

Venue: Orange Tree Theatre

Date: Thursday 7th July 2011

God, this was dull. Mind you, I slept through most of it, which is probably why I didn’t hate it as much as some of the audience at the post-show. We’ve added this writer to our do-not-see-again list.

It’s a two-hander. A man, clearly a businessman, enters a park and seems to be waiting for someone. A woman in scruffy clothes runs in looking like she’s drunk or on drugs, or possibly ill, and starts to talk to him. He tries to avoid her and leaves, but she calls after him and for no apparent reason he stops and becomes involved in a conversation of sorts. They end up in his hotel bedroom – he’s in town for work, but seems happy to blow that off – they have sex, and then she leaves him. He’s infatuated, and when she doesn’t meet up with him later as she promised to do, he hangs around the town looking for her. When he does spot her again in the park, she’s wearing the nice coat he gave her, and they again go to his room, where their relationship goes absolutely nowhere. End of the play.

My difficulty with this piece was the banal nature of the dialogue. Instead of being mysterious and absorbing, such as Pinter often achieves, it sounded very much like the writer had taken lines from a lot of soap opera episodes and cut and pasted them together. As a result there was no sense of real conversation, of character, of an interesting background to either of them, of any insight into the human condition beyond the basic level, and so there was nothing to engage with at all as far as I was concerned. It was inkblot theatre, and I don’t get on with that style at all.

Having said that, the actors did a great job with their parts, and I could feel that for them there was a great deal of tension in the scene. Pity it didn’t translate itself to me, but that’s life, or rather, art.

© 2011 Sheila Evans at ilovetheatre.me

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