Friday, September 14, 2007

Plays, the importance of sandwiches.

I went along with my darling friend Country Gay to see Sam Shephard's new play Kicking a Dead Horse last night.
Country Gay and I had our pre-theatre drink in an 'authentic Irish bar' packed full of Americans who were asking other Americans the rules of Rugby.
'But are there field goals?' they asked, drinking 'authentic' Irish Guinness. And 'how high can a score go?' plus my favourite, 'The New Zealand team don't even look when they do a pass back.'
'Everyone in work said it's terrible.' CG says.
'Well five people.'
'Aw fuck.' I glumly look at my drink and remember a time I was made go to see a Japanese play so dull my hair frizzed up in an attempt to block out the sound from my ears.
'But opinions are subjective.' Country gay counters his own statement.
This is true, some people like Marmite and some people think jazz is perfectly acceptable.
The Americans say something about infield defenders.
'Let's get out of here.' Country Gay said.
'Rokay raggy.'
We toodle across the bridge and enter other Dublin and head for the theatre. We raced up stairs and had ourselves an 'authentic' drink at the Abbey bar.
'There's Sam Shepherd CG, get him to sign your script.'
'Where?' said CG.
'Sitting right there.'
'I can't go-'
Bollocks to that. I march him over. CG gets his script signed I shake hands with Mr. Shepherd and wish him luck. I ask him is he nervous. he's says he's never comfortable before hand. He asks my name, I tell him. I say this will be his first production I have watched. He takes this on board and says, 'Well I hope you enjoy it.'
CG wishes him luck.
After a pee (me) and a smoke (CG) we take our seats. The Abbey looks great, high slopes and comfy chairs. So comfy indeed that the man seated next to CG promptly falls asleep the moment the curtain is drawn back over the stage.
The play start slowly. On a sparsely lit stage, Stephen Rae comes out of a grave he has dug for his dead horse and so begins his angry searching monologue. His frustrated, self pitying, ultimately surrendering rant. Here is a man who wanted one last trail through the 'authentic' Wild west, the romantic West of his youth. Here is a softened art dealer, made rich by plundering the very authentic west he now strives to seek. Dreaming of his youth, when his hands could rope steer and he knew he could survive alone, sleeping on the prairie floor. Here is a man with 'age hanging from him like a moss' who sees death ten years away, a death of sorts, when his body will crumble and his will can only follow. And what has he got for company on his quest? A dead horse, a horse he himself killed through poor feeding, because he wanted the jazz the old horse up.
Here is a man who aches to be what he once was and who laments the passing of his life, his youth, his virility, who cries out against his aging ways and battles against comfort and companionship, only to realise too late that comfort and companionship are not the lessors of evils. And when faced with an open grave in a desolate wilderness, what man in his right mind would not like to be home, on the sofa with his wife, listening to the radio, in comfort.
All right. So I loved it. I think I got it. I sure as shit swallowed up the lines and clung to the sentiment.
After wards we clapped and clapped. Rae's performance was a delight, even if his second voice was more Woody Allen than not, but then I thought afterwards, why not Woody for a neurotic art dealer?
We hit the bar for an 'authentic ' post play drink and gawked at all the somebodies. There was Sam Neill, enjoying a pint, a dahling playright whose name I forget, there's Alan Stanford, and that could be one of the Cusacks and that white haired chap, he's in the Tudors, CG said, and I nod, for CG knows these things.
I meet Sam Shepherd coming back from the loo.
'Well, what did you think?" he said, as his wife spoke to a photo hog.
'I loved, It was a real lament.'
'Good' he said and nodded slowly.
'Goodnight' I said, but he was already being sucked into the maw of the public and my stomach was growling.

We hopped a cab home, mwah mwah. I thanked CG for a lovely evening and dropped him off. On the way to my house my cabbie told me all about the 'The woman who walked into Doors' which he and CG saw. I told him Roddy Doyle is about to open his production of The Playboy of The Western World. Somewhere between Crumlin and Templeogue he managed to tell me that a man once offered to 'splash his fucking brains all over the dashboard'. I thought, 'How authentic! The wild West lives!'
And then I got home, had a cheese sandwich and two bottles of beer and went to bed.
I slept like a dead horse.



Blogger Conan Drumm said...

So, like I said, did ye congratulate her nibs on the films, the one with the big ape and the one with Jack Nicholson? Or has Shepard got a more recent missus?

Good review, btw. But, and although I'm a real fan of Rea, I find it hard to see him in that role.

11:25 a.m.  
Anonymous sheepworrier said...

Ooo, its all a bit high-brow for me.
I do like Rea tho.

12:48 p.m.  
Blogger grimsaburger said...

You lucky dog...

And a note about the Americans and rugby--I'll have you know I watched intently and quietly last spring until I'd figured out the rules myself, which wasn't terribly difficult anyway. Now Gaelic football or hurling? Sweet Jesus, I am hopelessly lost. But there's a pub in town now carrying Setanta so I'll keep at it...

2:43 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Gaelige football is pretty easy to follow, goal =3points, over the bar = 1. You can pass with a puck (punch) or you can run, taking a bounce or a kick to yourself every three steps.
Huring's much the same, you can't pick the slither up, you've got to roll it onto your hurl, and you can't carry it in your hand when you run, other than that have at it.
I wasn't being sneery at Americans neither, just amused at them trying to work out the rules compared to American football and being horribly over charged for Guinness.
It's like baseball, I sort of get it, it's like rounders, but the rules of the game leave me a bit flummoxed.

Conan, I didn't say a word to her, she looked under pressure, more than him. Rea was good but the accent was a bit patchy to be fair. Ad man is he sooo skinny.
Sheepie, it wasn't highbrow at all, just a nice night out with a nice chap doing something different for a change. There's only so much Law and Order I can watch.

3:19 p.m.  
Anonymous eva said...

Damn, I wish I still lived in Dublin when I read this. I'm a die hard Rea fan ever since The Crying Game. I haven't seen or heard anything about him in ages though. I once had the great pleasure of interviewing him (I was star-struck as hell) and he was a lovely man.

4:34 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Was he? I admire him myself, he stalked that stage last night, totally owned it.

4:39 p.m.  
Blogger Medbh said...

Most excellent review, FMC.
And I didn't realize that "The Woman Who Walked into Doors" was a staged production. Wasn't it on RTE as "The Family" years ago?
Love that book.

8:55 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

The play is an adaptation of the book (same name) I think, just about Paula after she left Charlo. Country Gay said it was amazing and the girl who played Paula was awe- inspiring. Far better than his later book about Paula, where she is a recovering alcoholic. He completely lost her voice in that and she's too good a character to lose.

11:36 p.m.  

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