Troilus and Cressida or a good, hard look at the footprint of something short of an idealised and benevolent God

Last night, my husband and I attended the RSC & Wooster Group’s production of Troilus and Cressida.

It was brilliant – if not a bit weird – and it is that niggling weird bit upon which I decided to blog.

In their synopsis, the theatre companies describe their play as one of disillusionment.

And indeed, it would appear that’s true.  After seven years at war, neither the Greeks nor the Trojans remain certain about the value of that for which they’ve been fighting. Even the innocent love affair between Troilus and Cressida ends in betrayal and despair without apparent rhyme or reason.

Plays are often expected to sort of life.  We want them to take the random and contradictory events that we experience and make them seem ordered, natural, inevitable. (Mark Ravenhill – Writer in residence at the RSC)

When a play doesn’t do that, it’s considered a ‘problem’ and interestingly it appears that perhaps Shakespeare planned it that way.

If we can create something that is inconsistent in tone, unreliable in information and driven by contradiction then maybe we can create the realistic theatre that Shakespeare was looking for.  (Mark Ravenhill – Writer in residence at the RSC)

And that’s just the point.

Many don’t like realistic theatre.  We don’t want to pay good money to see a story where (unlike our everyday lives) the loose ends are not tied up.   Such untidiness threatens our personal cosmologies – i.e. the carefully constructed psychologically spatial orientation through which we view the world.

Yet if we can sit for awhile with this tension – i.e. the niggling weird bits –  we might come to discover that instead of having been sadly parted from our hard-earned money, we’ve been given privileged glimpse of something which just might revolutionise our world.

I suggest that something is perspective (or in less polite circles, a good, hard look at the footprint of something short of an idealised and benevolent God).

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