Tuesday, October 25, 2011

If we shadows...

Up to 80 people a night, we are informed, have been walking out of the current RSC production of Marat/Sade, revolted by scenes of torture, masturbation and dwarf/bishop sex. The Daily Telegraph would have us believe that those behind the show will be upset by this, I rather suspect that they’re rubbing their hands with delight, and even more keenly now that hordes of Telegraph readers are spitting thick-cut marmalade over their tweed pyjamas at the very thought of such goings on and yearning for the days when they could go to the theatre secure in the knowledge that the closest they’d come to moral depravity would be Richard Briers almost – but not quite – saying “bloody hell”. In a world where boundaries of taste and morality seem about as solid as Bangkok flood barriers, it takes something special to earn one’s transgressive Brownie points. (And would the notion of a transgressive Brownie provoke similar outrage? I wonder.)

That said, the “up to 80 people” (hmm...) are leaving voluntarily, rather than being carried out. I was lucky enough to see the Deborah Warner version of Titus Andronicus at the RSC, nearly a quarter of a century ago, and chatting to one of the ushers in the interval, I was informed that I’d come on a slow night: nobody fainted; nobody vomited; they hadn’t had a nervous breakdown in the audience for over a week. The dwarf and the bishop will just have to try that little bit harder.

(Image by djailledie, after Jacques-Louis David, from deviantART. Flood update: still dry.)


Annie said...

"Lucinda, I think we should leave. There's a dwarf having sex with a Bishop. It's disgusting."
"You're right Hugo. And it's not what you'd expect in a play about the Marquis de Sade set in a lunatic asylum, at all."

Vicus Scurra said...

Very nicely fashioned, young man.

I walked out of one of their productions. They were suggesting that a British King had colluded in the murder of his nephews. No wonder the country is going to the dogs.

Philip Cartwright said...

Was that Cox's Titus? If so, I saw that in Newcastle. Great production, but not a hint of any fainting or vomiting from the Geordie masses. Years of drinking in the Bigg Market had obviously left them completely desensitised. (OK, it was one Geordie, 19 teachers and 180 students - but we'd all been for a drink in the Bigg Market).

Anonymous said...

Glad you're still dry.
For some reason nastiness on stage doesn't get to me - but I've been known to go woozy or even pass out in the cinema.
Pathetic, huh?

Tim F said...

Maybe they thought they were attending a jukebox musical about the popular 80s chanteuse Sade, Annie. The most depraved thing she ever did was neglecting to wear a bra at Live Aid. For which my teenage self salutes her.

They also sanction underage sex, bestiality and unprovoked eye-gouging, Vicus. One might have thought the "R" stood for Rugby.

That was the one, Philip. Cox was indeed magnificent, and I was close enough to get flecked with his spittle (and the fake blood when he cut the throats of Tamora's sons).

Maybe with cinema you're (metaphorically) closer, BWT?