Call me Russ L

“And what was there to do but dance?”

Posted in Stage by Russ L on 18 February, 2006

I don’t seem to go to the theatre very often these days (this is something I need to rectify), so I was quite looking forward to a trip to The Arena Theatre in Wolves on wednesday the 15th, to see “Here’s What I Did With My Body One Day.’ The Arena seems to have had new seats fitted since I was last there, and I have to say I don’t like them. They lean forward to an unpleasant degree – I had to keep shifting position to stop myself thinking I was about to fall off.

This was courtesy of Lightworks, anyway, subtitled ‘A Genetic Detective Thriller’ and really very good indeed. The extremely English scientist David Ree is the son of an Huntingdon’s suffering expatriate Frenchman, who moved to England to escape the family curse of inadvertently killing French intellectuals in road accidents (Roland Barthes, Pierre Curie, Ernest Chausson). Ree the younger scoffs at the curse, and when called upon to speak at a genetics conference takes his father over to Paris for the first time since before he himself was born. When his father disappears and Ree hears of a traffic accident involving a fellow scientist, the panic-stricken search begins. Periodically the main narrative is broken up by Barthes, Curie and Chausson discoursing on their lives and deaths.

I loved this no end, enjoying it on every possible level. The multimedia set design was fantastic and definitely worthy of mention – one large projection onto the back wall, and three easel-like folding boards that ingeniously doubled up as screens for further projections and various pieces of scenery. The play itself, meanwhile, is not only extremely funny and warm but also so very, very clever. There’s not too much I can say without giving too much away but it really is a pleasingly tricksy piece of work. Essentialy we have a exploration of whether there is anything more to the world than a “series of events unfolding to their causal conclusions” (I sincerely apologise if I’ve misquoted that). The way events lead to each other and the things felt by the characters at the occasions of their deaths could usher the viewer towards to an opinion either way.

The tour of this is on its final legs but there are a few performances left, so I’d urge anyone and everyone to check it out if they can.

~ Russ L

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