I recently finished my first year at university. My favourite classes were in Drama, and it quite got me into playwriting. So for next year I wanted to sign up for classes on Scriptwriting and Shakespeare, but my course leader said I wasn’t entitled to take either (long story), so next academic year I’ll be learning things like Writing and Editing and Research Methodology.
So, no drama classes for me next year, but I’m sure I’ll be involved in the theatre world in my free time, if left with any. See, I’m concerned about the state of drama these days. As much as I enjoyed the playwriting aspect of the course, the contemporary plays we studied for theory of drama were, for the most part…kind of monotonously depressing.
I do appreciate the genius of writers like Chekhov, Beckett and Pinter, but I’d never go see any of their stuff at the theatre. Why would I want to pay a fortune for the ticket to get to watch agony and existential crises on the stage? I get that show for free every time I stay behind for drinks after a poetry reading.
For my first assignment on the drama course, I wrote a play in the style of Restoration Comedy of Manners. My tutor said that while it was well written and good historical research, I should never send anything like that to the Royal Court. Genre plays are totally out of fashion. The Royal Court wants more Sarah Kane, Debbie Tucker Green and Edward Bond. They want to see people get stoned to death or butt raped with a metal pole. That’s serious theatre.
If I’m ever in charge of a theatre (dream big…), I’ll turn down all scripts like that and tell the writers to bugger off and go teach drama to emo teenagers. Theatre world has suffered too long the legacy of Konstantin Stanislavski and his desire to portray sad monotony of life through drama. There’s enough of sad monotony in real life. I want Shakespeare back on stage. I want the Restoration period back. I want William Wycherley and Aphra Behn back. I want bawdy jokes, ridiculous costumes, exaggerated gestures, silly make-up and cliched sexual innuendo back. I want to pay for a ticket to be entertained, not to end up wanting to kill myself because life is so meaningless. Let’s all bombard the Royal Court with silly, superficial genre plays, and let’s let them know loud and clear how very tired we are of endless Beckett rip-offs.
Who’s with me?