What a nice play. Lovely theatre. Rather contemporary don’t you think? How refreshing. West London, zone 2, Wednesday matinee of a 2-hour play about a man who cannot make up his mind about his two lovers (both female, women – lovely and cis-normative). Briefly discusses abortion – from this swipes over the modern woman’s control over her body. Pokes fun at the muscly man with anger issues. Spoon feeds audience narrative. My companion guesses the ending by the interval.
Its all lovely though. Nothing to offend anyone, Impressive set, comfortable seats. But in these circumstances you have to notice the demographic of audience: rich looking, white people – mostly women, in a favourable ratio to the small cohort of students from the drama conservatoire, placed conveniently across the very lovely pop-up food market. It literally cant get any more West Hampstead if it tried. Middle class people enjoy plays. They may enjoy the content, but more so the heightened sense of social status and inflated ego their engagement with contemporary arts gives them. Fabby dinner party talk – yes, I imagine it must be wonderful to chuckle about a ditsy blonde American who left her marriage to run after her ex, who already has another lassie up the duff over your grilled asparagus, parma ham and complimentary bubbly. As an audience, they are utilised hugely by theatres – these are the bums on seats who are happy to pay full price on a ticket which could easily be marketed at a third of the price, but, y’know – the modern world doesn’t half love inflation. But, because they are this (remember theatres like this keep many a good friend of mine in stable employment, something which should never be taken for granted), should they not be challenged more as a theatre-goer? Or is the fear of repelling the contented customer too much for PA to handle? Safe theatre’s time is over. We’re a country in recovery from recession, our ties with the EU are fraught and under threat. The opportunity to challenge an audience, or even respond to their opinions, give them something meaty to talk about over chargrilled trout with truffled potatoes and funny coloured carrots – is right in front of our noses. Its not just applied theatres responsibility to provide audiences with theatre designed to test their minds, jerk a thought which tilts an opinion. Typical, middle class theatre is just a fluffy, duck-feathered cushion on which backs rest when extra luxury appears desirable, to what must be a very taxing existence, going to waitrose to do the weekly shop. I hated the play. There was no point sitting through it – I mean it literally explained its own metaphors. It just didn’t excite me. And even if you do only go to the theatre to be entertained, but a cheeky grin on your face, take you to a different world to the one in which you live, you, as the audience, deserve to be excited by what you see.
In short, I’m glad I didn’t pay for my ticket.