Posts Tagged ‘Here We Go’

This was trailed as Caryl Churchill’s first full-length play in over 20 years. It isn’t. It’s another obtuse 50 minute miniature. Apart from providing work for four excellent 60/70-something actresses, it’s hard to see what else it contributes. It’s feint praise to say it’s a better than her last ‘miniature’, Here We Go, at the National last year (https://garethjames.wordpress.com/2015/12/11/here-we-go-evening-at-the-talk-house).

Mrs Jarrett pops into Sally’s garden when she’s passing. She joins Sally, making inconsequential small-talk with Lena & Vi about the local shops and a whole host of other things; typical old people stuff, looking back (I should know!). We return to the garden with the same four ladies in a row, in chairs, a number of times. In between, Mrs Jarrett appears stage front, framed by red tubes and crackling wire, to tell us about some catastrophes, which become increasingly implausible (and tiresome) as they progress. We learn that Lena has served six years for killing her husband. They sing Da Doo Ron Ron. Sally and Lena each have a bit of a monologue and Mrs Jarrett ends the play with a bit of a rant, repeating the same phrase over and over again – the verbal equivalent of the undressing at the end of Here We Go, but mercifully shorter. 

I’m not entirely sure what Churchill is trying to say; perhaps that we carry on regardless or oblivious of the catastrophes happening around us and / or what it’s like growing old. Playwrights often become minimalist in their later years (Beckett, Pinter…) yet they continue to occupy their place on a pedestal. I sometimes think they have lost their mojo but no-one has the nerve to say so. After 20 years of plays like this I think that’s where I’m at with Caryl Churchill and I think it’s time I gave up hoping for a return to the form that gave us plays like Serious Money.

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Two turkeys in one evening and there’s still two weeks to Christmas. 

Here We Go

In the first ten minutes we are with mourners at a funeral. They reminisce about the departed and take it in turns to tell us how far in the future they will die and the causes of their death.

In the next ten minutes we’re with an old man who has died, possibly the one they were just mourning, in that gap between death and the afterlife. 

For the next twenty-five minutes we’re in a rest home where the old man is in a loop, being undressed and dressed over and over again by his carer, in complete silence. 

This is the latest in Caryl Churchill’s minimalist period. Once upon a time she was a good playwright.

Evening in the Talk House

The Talk House is a private club which has fallen on hard times. Tonight they are hosting a reunion of a group of people who worked together on a play ten years ago – the producer, writer, composer, lead actor and wardrobe lady. Another actor who didn’t get a part in the play has taken refuge in the club. The two staff reminisce about the club’s heyday. Most have subsequently become involved in TV. No-one goes to plays anymore (with plays like this, it’s easy to see why). The government changes every three months and seems to flip-flop between two people. There’s a policy of murdering anyone who’s against them, with members of the public involved in both targeting and assassination.

It’s self-indulgent, dull, preposterous and a complete waste of the talent on the stage (and a great set).

Presumably both of these skipped the NT QA process because they are by ‘names’ like Wallace Shawn (who also acts) and Caryl Churchill, but that’s no excuse. Shameful.

Two turkeys for Christmas.

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