Saturday, May 08, 2010

Stand and Deliver

One of the books I studied for A-level Eng Lit was Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent.

Don't go reading it on my recommendation though: I hated it. Everyone banged on about Joseph Conrad's beautiful written style - - well it drove me nuts. He was actually Polish and his English was perfect - - - but nobody in England speaks perfect English, and therefore it always seemed to me as if it had been translated.

But one thing stuck in my mind. One of the characters in the novel had got by in life by deciding that "some things don't bear too much looking into" and had stuck to it.

For some reason, I was reminded of that tonight. Perhaps because it's a philosophy I've adopted myself quite often. I'll see something and choose not to notice it, or to act on it. So perhaps I did learn something from The Secret Agent, other than never to read any more novels by Joseph Conrad.

Tonight I went to see the Mooted Theatre's production of Dead Man's Shoes which was written by Direct Personal Management's very own Gemma Head - - - and it was excellent.

It's about an interesting "lost" period in the life of the highwayman Dick Turpin, who turned up at Brough in North Yorkshire at some point and then, when he was hanged, left his various possessions to a mystery woman from Brough, in spite of being married to somebody else.

The play's about the mystery woman from Brough, and how almost everyone chooses not to look at the strange horse-trader in their midst, or to think about where he might have come from.

The story was fascinating, the cast were excellent, particularly Victoria Morris as Martha, the woman from Brough, and there was great music too. And there were men in those period costumes with leather knee-boots, oh yes. Always does it for me.

A packed audience at the Carriageworks in Leeds loved it too and it's going to tour now, hurrah.

I do like the Mooted Theatre Company's website and particularly what they write about theatre there - I hope they don't mind if I quote it:

The Mooted Theatre Co was formed in 2007. We are based in York and believe most of the following most of the time:
  • That theatre should inspire as well as provoke, and entertain as well as challenge.
  • That images matter as much as words, and words as much as images.
  • That theatre is at its best when it is truly theatrical, not a pale imitation of television of film.
  • That if something is old it doesn’t mean it’s dated, and if something is new it doesn’t mean it’s relevant.
  • That our base in Yorkshire is at the heart of what we do, though our work is universal.
  • That suggestion is always more powerful than being literal.
  • That theatre should be fun. Except when it’s sad.

That's just what I believe too.

Thanks to all the cast tonight. They stood, and they delivered.

(Yes, yes, I know. Sorry).


Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

Regarding the genius who was Joseph Conrad, one of the best novels ever written in the English language was, in my view, "Nostromo" - so many layers. You were probably too young to meet "The Secret Agent".

12:47 am  
Blogger Daphne said...

Of course, I've never read "Nostromo" and I am sure you're right - I was too young for The Secret Agent. Another demonstration of how badly-chosen Eng Lit at school can put people off for life.

9:52 pm  

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