Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Glass Curtain

Ask me who wrote the play I saw this past Saturday and her name will likely mean very little to you. For now. But I will tell you it because Lucy Caldwell (pictured here) is clearly a name to watch. And a name I would like to thank, for alongside Georgia Fitch I have cause to believe in young women again. Okay, maybe Amy Winehouse deserves a mention but that is more a schadenfreude-inspired ode to my drinking habits than any enduring creative mantle.

No the big and, as yet, largely untold story of London's theatre world is that the playwrights who are most interesting to read and see now, the ones who are really pushing the work forward aesthetically, are largely women. And there is no better evidence than Belfast-born Caldwell's play, 'Leaves', currently playing at the Royal Court Upstairs. But don't just take my word for it. As if! 'Leaves' was sold out this past Saturday evening which was both before press night and on St. Patrick's Day: a double whammy that should have quashed ticket sales. Which either means the twenty-five year old (anybody else feel like a dud?), award winning playwright's reputation stands before her, or Saturday nights in London are suddenly about imbibing theatre not Guinness. I know where my suspicion lies.

'Leaves' is a family drama that sees three teenage girls struggling to define who they are and where they are going. Set against the backdrop of The Troubles it begs the question of how far our place of upbringing impacts on our lives. As such, it was with delicious irony that I stood next to the forlorn Lord Archer of Weston-super-Mare in the box office queue.

Royal Court Upstairs
to April 7
Book here; tickets £10-£15


Anonymous Claire said...

Great stuff, the creative world is so void of young female talent.

Will check this out!

3:19 pm  
Anonymous Jen12 said...

Made it to the Bush Theatre last week CS and just wanted to say thank you. Was blown away. Speechless. May well give this a goa s well.

4:24 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds good indeed
The Royal Court rarely fails.

4:24 pm  
Anonymous badgelady said...

Thanks for this. It is the first review I could find anywhere. Just booked up for next week.

5:02 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just read it is produced by the Druid Theatre Company. They are superb. I am not surprised it was that enjoyable. The Upstairs space can be hit or miss.

5:04 pm  
Anonymous Femme said...

In a decade of new writing, it is striking that so few female playwrights have had their work produced in comparison to their male peers. ...

5:11 pm  
Anonymous Dave, a script writer said...

I am afraid that so much of the "accepted wisdom" has the male domination of the playwright's profession become that even women have been largely convinced of its justice.

5:12 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Because of their need and desire to have and raise children, women should be more suited to the flexible hours required of the writer.

5:13 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Because so little has been written on women's theatre history, all kinds of misconceptions continue to flourish ... part of the problem derives from the emphasis of so much theatre scholarship on text based theatre. This is to some extent understandable since theatre is ephemeral and the written playscript is all that materially remains after the performance has ended. But to focus on the written text creates an imbalance

5:14 pm  
Anonymous newyorkdaytripper said...

It’s a lot easier for a woman to get a novel published than to get a play produced. Very few women playwrights get done Off Broadway and as far as Broadway goes, forget it. At the Off Off Broadway level you’re going to find the percentage of women playwrights a little higher, since it’s the lower echelon. But it’s still hard. And, I might add, no Off Off Broadway playwright gets paid. More often than not, an Off Off Broadway playwright (male or female) is actually contributing money to that production. That’s because all those productions are money-losing propositions. They have to be, when you factor in cost of the theater, paying the crew, and then the limit the unions put on ticket pricing. You’re lucky if you break even. And then you compare that situation and go into the bookstore and there are piles of books by women! Who got paid to write! I feel lucky that I was looking to publish my novel right as this whole “chicklit” phenomenon started taking off. Publishers now recognize that women like reading books that are by women about women.

5:15 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is just so great of the Royal Court to supoprt new writers like this!

5:59 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Monday night all seats are £10. I just spoke to them.

6:14 pm  
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6:26 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great blog. Will visit again soon. This review makes me wanna go and see the play. Cool.

7:26 pm  
Anonymous kelly said...

The Guardian gave it 3 stars today.

Read Michael Billington's review here

7:53 pm  

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