You may have heard me tell this story before, but it’s a strangely vivid one in my mind, and for me it deserves repeating. When I finished university, I was working for a friend, but to make up for working Saturdays, I had a day off during the week. Because all other friends were working on this day off, I tried to make use of this ‘me’ time to do things that I might not otherwise do. I had an English Heritage membership card which I made use of, I would go to Stratford and sit on the patio of the Dirty Duck with a pint and a book, I would sit in a coffee shop in Leamington with a huge mug of coffee and a book, it was good. One day, I was mooching around the internet, and stumbled across some information on a play that was coming to it’s last few days at the Birmingham REP. I didn’t know anything about the REP, but did vaguely remember someone handing me a flyer about it at freshers week a few years before, and thought I would give it a go.
It might be slightly surprising, but I’ve not seen that much theatre. I saw my first musical when I was 13 (Cats, a birthday present from my now housemate), and have seen quite a few more in the years since, but the only Theatre that I had really seen before this was a slightly dubious production of King Lear a year or so before, and various things that friends had appeared in at the Student’s Union.
Tristan & Yseult, for this was the play that I saw that day, blew me away. I laughed, I cried, I loved every single second of it. I was delighted, on the train home that evening, to find that I had one of the main songs that they played at the end on my ipod, and listened to it on repeat ’til I got back, wrapped in a cocoon of the images it was conjuring in my head. I have the script of the play here on my desk at the moment, and while it is a fantastic script, just reading it cannot hint at the marvellousness that the play was portrayed on that stage.
Since that day I have become much more interested in theatre, I’ve now seen Othello, and a superior King Lear, and Noel Coward and others, but I get exceptionally excited when I hear about a new Kneehigh play. And get really quite annoyed when I find out they’re performing something, but not somewhere I can get too. And even more annoyed when I think of all the things that they did before I knew about them!
I guess what this is all leading round to, is that Kneehigh have a new upcoming play, Don John, which will be performed at the Courtyard Theatre in Stratford and I urge you all to go and see it. But it’s not on until December, and if I find out that the tickets are all sold out before I get mine I will be most upset and never tell you anything ever again!
P.S. have just found the what I wrote when I originally went to see Tristan & Yseult, you can read it here