“It’s all about relationships!” is the thayture equivalent of ‘That would be an ecumenical matter!’ and ‘It’s all about relationships!’ is what I have been advised to tell anyone who ever asks me about a play.
This advice came from an experienced director, who pointed out that the phrase is appropriate to all plays at all times and sounds engaging to potential-bums-on-seats… “Just tell anybody who asks you about an up-coming production that 'it’s all about relationships' and you’ll never be stuck”.
Begob he wasn’t far wrong.
“It’s all about relationships!” has stood me in good stead over the years but unfortunately it wont work this time. Taint all about relationships this time, no sireee. Neither is it an ecumenical matter. The Cheeky Chappie gave me a great compliment when he read it; he described it as ‘A new kind of writing’ which was lovely to hear but I’m a little scared of. The fact is that there’s a big world out there with a lot going on in it and the style of this thing is hardly a great departure from traditional theatre so it doesn’t seem it likely that it hasn’t been done before. It’s a lovely idea though and nice to hear. Thank you Chappie.
Now you and me both know Chappie that the monologue is a bit different all right and that does put one at a loss when people ask you about it, because it’s hard to put in the context of something else. You can’t say that it’s ‘Jaws-meets-Trainspotting’ or ‘Death of a salesman-meets-Hamlet’ or any of those handy combination descriptions. The thing that we’ve been calling it, ‘A Stand-up Tragedy’, is probally not exactly accurate either but still maybe it’s as near as we’re going to get.
However, I did think of a way to describe the writing style today that I like and think fits, and thought I’d share with you.
In his book; ‘McCarthy’s bar’ Pete McCarthy meets a woman (somewhere near Shannon, I think) whose conversational style leads him to the conclusion that the pioneering work in literature and theatre by Joyce and Beckett respectively; i.e. their ‘stream of consciousness’ style, is simply the way a lot of Irish people think and talk.
I think I know what he means.
I think the old ‘Spinal’ is going to take some work yet before it’s anywhere near finished, and this outing should be a great opportunity to see where that work needs to be. There was a ‘stream of consciousness’ element to the writing process which probably provided it with strength and weakness in equal measure but at the same time the script is very self aware so; here’s me new handy glib phrase to describe the text:
‘Stream of self-consciousness’
Whaddya think? Clever eh?
Oh right then.
Well in that case let me elucidate one more comment that I feel encapsulates all you need to know about both the play, its’ genre, theme, the narrative arc of its’ protagonist and its’ subject:
It’s all about relationships lads.