Once or twice recently I have been minded to post on the subject of Sir Tom Stoppard's absence from the stage but then I reminded myself that no-one here at D&N is particularly interested - except me! Regular readers will have noted, many a time and oft, that I hero-worship the man who has, in my opinion, written some of the greatest plays in my lifetime. However, since his last play received only muted praise the silence has been deafening!
Now, I gather from the press, that he is suffering with writer's block, and in fact on further enquiry I understand that this is a condition with which he has struggled for many years. I am not too surprised. Like the very best of all great dramatists, his plays touch on some of the most hideously complicated, intellectual problems of human existence which must, somehow, in some way, be presented to audiences only dimly aware of them. He does this, over and over again in his plays, often with the lightest of touches but in ways that indicate the complexity and tragedy beneath. Just crack on, Sir Tom, we, your admirers, will remain patient.
Alas and alack, I have more or less given up on theatre-going. My favourite theatre, The Globe, is now an example of what happens when the inmates take over the asylum. Never mind going all the way up to London to see one of their offerings, I wouldn't even cross the road! Elsewhere there appears to be a flood of contemporary sewage flowing through 'theatreland' and absolutely none of it has the slightest appeal to me. I have been wondering, and hoping, that, given the dearth of new and talented playwrights there might be a return to old and proven classics. Terence Rattigan instantly springs to mind. Unlike Stoppard, Rattigan avoided intellectual puzzles and concentrated on people. In an age when the English were notoriously close-lipped and avoided like the plague the public display of private, inner turmoil, it must have been exceedingly difficult to portray these feelings - but he did it and the effect is to raise the emotional temperature all the higher. Alas, I only had one chance to direct a Rattigan play, Flare Path, but it was enough to convince me of his theatrical brilliance.
Sorry to bore on, darlings, but I do miss my amateurish theatrical efforts and it makes a change from all that Brexit blx!