Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Sizwe Banzi, The Rose Tattoo and dreamtime

I was dog-tired, John Kani and Winston Ntshoma were acting up a storm in their revival of Sizwe Banzi is Dead, the play they and Athol Fugard wrote in South Africa in the 1970s now showing at the National Theatre. I couldn't stay awake though . . . with the curious result that a parallel play took place in my dreams. An actor would be lying wounded on the stage, I'd open my eyes and he was standing merrily in mid-dialogue, then off I would drift again to my variant production.

I stayed awake for the evening and a gorgeous production of Tennessee Williams' The Rose Tattoo with Zoe Wannamaker in the lead, a blissfully camp and fun play. I'm always struck by how much audiences, especially those out on a Saturday night, year to laugh, grabbing any opportunity even in the bleakest of evenings. Here for once we could just hoot away.

Dreams played another trick last night. I'm reading what is likely a rare form of literature, a contemporary novel of Scottish shamanism, Peter Urpeth's Far Inland. It starts well, goes curiously astray for a while for a visionary sequence in the second section (not bad in itself, just loosing its hold on the reader when a firmer grip was needed), then gets wonderfully back on track. I told this to the author in my dream, who turned out incidentally to be a spectacularly fine trapeze artiste, and we had a very engaged chat about writing. I wonder if grants are available for making creative play out of sleeping?


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