Friday, September 28, 2007

Ode to the Enhanced

I love the Royal Court Theatre. In fact, I love it enough to endure the dreaded District Line to get there. And, yet again, the journey was worth it; this time for The Ugly One, a brilliantly clever and funny new play by one of Germany's hottest young playwrights, Marius von Mayenburg, opening the Royal Court's International Season.

As the play has already been reviewed in the mainstream press, I will avoid a plot rehashing. But, suffice it to say the main theme is society's obsession with plastic surgery and its resulting generic templates of beauty. With so many Botoxed, Propeciaed, Lasiked and breast-augmented around, the suggestion is that all individuality and identity is lost. Think Jessica Simpson. Who? Precisely.

So when the protagonist of The Ugly One turns to a plastic surgeon to refashion his 'ugly face' the implication is that he is breaking a basic human covenant: that we each suffer whatever genetics we were given. The assumption being that the playing field is fair in the big picture, that some of us are born beautiful smart and talented and it somehow gets balanced out by being Michael Lohan's daughter.

But is it really fair? Or rather is there not also danger in conforming to the idea there is danger in conforming? Is redesigning your body any more an affront to nature than wearing make-up or a Wonder bra? Shouldn't it be okay to use technology to compete? Think Barry Bonds. Shouldn't a man who can only hit a home run every once 16 at bats be allowed to hit a home run every nine bats? Or a politician use Botox to beat out a younger wrinkle-free opponent? Isn't that what Jefferson meant when he wrote that whole "pursuit of happiness" thing? Or do you really think the guy was just talking about stamps and tea?

The Ugly One
Royal Court, Jerwood Theatre Upstairs
£10-£15, Until 13 Oct
020 7565 5000

20 Comments:

Anonymous Hegre said...

Hi CS. It does sound like an interesting and topical piece indeed.

Thanks for the indictation. i will try and make it.

12:25 pm  
Anonymous Charlie said...

Great post CS. The reviews have been excellent as well as you point out. The District Line is dreadful though well noted.
See you soon.

1:06 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It IS CERTAINLY a great show!
Go see it!

1:10 pm  
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Blogger chip said...

Great post CS. The reviews have been excellent as well as you point out. The District Line is dreadful though well noted.
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