Oh, don't worry - er, you were worried, weren't you? - it is not an aching void, it's not the cause of unending grief, silent tears are not dribbling down my cheeks but the fact is that where there used to be something, now there is nothing. I refer, of course, to my love of, and for, theatre, darlings - hang on, where are you going? Don't edge away like that, I know I used to bang on a bit about theatre but these days I hardly ever mention the subject. Of course, I no longer act or direct but what has slowly dawned on me is that I never actually go to the theatre anymore.
I am reminded of this by an e-mail I have received from the National Theatre advising me of their forthcoming productions. I didn't even yawn because all of their offerings were totally unknown to me and the only title I did recognise was 'Pericles' which some people attach to William Shakespeare although if he did make any contribution it was probably confined to adding the occasional full stop! Any slight interest I might have had in that particular play was stopped dead by the introductory words, "A new version", yeeeeeeeeeees, quite! There is an American musical listed which raised my hopes but then I realised it was written by Stephen Sondheim whose 'melodies' are as narcoleptic as sleeping pills!
Again, I found myself asking, where are the new, brilliant and imaginative playwrights? Where is the latter-day Tom Stoppard? I know he's 80 years old which I will be in just over a year but, dammit, that's no excuse! I don't have any talent but he has oodles of it and there must be just enough of it left to produce something approaching the 'magic' of "Arcadia". Or why can't the juveniles at the National Theatre reach back in time and resurrect some of the earlier 20th century playwrights, like Terence Rattigan or Somerset Maugham, who created quiet, under-stated plays which eviscerated the 'polite society' of the '20s and '30s.
OK, you can all relax now, this old, 'Lear-like', amateur 'thesp' has finished shaking his fist at the theatrical heavens and is tottering off to supper and then to bed!