The Author, by Tim Crouch

I went to see The Author by Tim Crouch last night, with Aisling. Quite a remarkable piece of theatre. Unsettling and very interesting, especially the way the play was structured. (Stop reading here, if you’re planning to go and see it, and want to be completely surprised.)

The four actors were sitting in the audience, and the audience was sitting on two podiums, facing each other, with a narrow corridor in between the two podiums. The author plays a character with his own name – all the actors play characters with their own names. Later in the play this becomes a very effective device that serves to blur the boundaries between fiction and reality in a most unsettling manner.

There are tales of horrific violence, of which none is seen; it is wrapped in the triviality of what seems like the lives of quite ordinary people. Well, ordinary actors anyway.

Voyeurism, abuse, humiliation, brutalisation, torture – the list of atrocities is remarkably complete, yet somehow it doesn’t seem sensational and you are never given the option of fully separating yourself from horror by the usual ‘us and them’ approach. Unsettling indeed, but insidiously so. The situation is set up so that it creeps in under your radar.

We didn’t quite know what to do with ourselves afterwards, and drifted about with a failing sense of purpose for a bit, then realised we were hungry and wandered back from where we came.

Outside the theatre, we bumped into Mim, Tanyushka, her husband Joe, and the entire cast. We stopped with them for a bit and talked, which seemed welcome by both us and the actors.

After that we felt sufficiently back on planet Earth to go and eat, so we went for tapas.

I am now on my way to Nicole’s wedding in Hamburg. Back tomorrow night.

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