I'm reading one of John McGrath's inspiring books at the moment and I've been so agitated by the excellent content that I was planning on writing some thoughts on political theatre...however half an hour ago Mark, who I'm touring 'Thick As Thieves' with, phoned me and said I was about to be on TV (if you recall the BBC filmed the show we did for the person who won the show on eBay). The BBC news to be precise. So all the angry left wing political thoughts left my head and sat in front of the TV with some chocolate milk and watched myself; giggling like a spazzy child.
Needless to say I looked great (I have to say that) and it was jolly good coverage but I find it bizarre how strong my accent is when you put me on TV.
Back to the politics. John McGrath was a big believer in theatre being a political forum to illustrate the situations that effected the lives of the working classes in the UK and then made work that played to those communities. I share this belief but it seems we still live in a time where overtly political theatre is frowned upon, as if actually caring and putting your beliefs out there for all to see is somehow clumsy and base. We seem to live in a time where wearing your heart on your sleeve is an excuse for people to take pot shots at you; as if believing in nothing is far cooler. I find this disgusting.
What's interesting is that I am in two minds about 'Human Shrapnel', part of me feels that it is too political in it's representations of white, male working class existence and on the other hand I don't feel it goes far enough: too much abstraction of important issues. I also have to remember that this is my showcase for agents and whatnot, this somehow seems to impinge upon the kind of work I can create.
I also fail to see real political theatre going on around me, all of the contemporary theatre I've been to see seems too hung up on performance practice and theory to have any resonance or heart for what really matters: the politics that control our everyday life and decision making. That is the kind of theatre I want to make...that is the kind of theatre I will make, starting with 'Human Shrapnel'
On a political tip the excellent uber-blogger Tim of both Bloggerheads and Backing Blair has created a wonderful party political broadcast you should go have a look at.