22 March

Things which suck.

1: Hands permanently red from washing, and no hand-cream in the shop, not even for ready money. Having recently shed 30lb as a result of not very intensive dieting I remarked "It makes me realize what a greedy piggie I must have been before I started." Red-raw hands make me realize how bad my personal hygiene must have been before the emergency.

(How often do you wash your hands? Er..I never wash my hands. I get myself wet and soapy in the bath nearly every day though.)

2: Symptoms of stress and anxiety (shivering, feeling mildly sick) are indistinguishable from early symptoms of fever and high temperature, which induces stress an anxiety. I am not hot and I am not coughing. A few websites say that some patients presented initially with gastric problems, but I haven't experience anything more than feeling very slightly sick, which goes away when presented with nice food.

3: No-one talks about anything else. You sit in the part, two meters a part, and hear conversation drifting past "...cousin is in isolation..." "...toilet rolls in sainsburies..." "...school closed..." "...I blame the government..."

4: Simultaneously not knowing exactly what the rules are and blaming other people for breaking them. I have gone for a walk in the park. Is it okay to go for a walk in the park? Look at those other people who have irresponsibly gone for a walk in the park. Is it a Lurgy that you can catch from touching a toilet seat or brushing past someone in a queue? Or is it something you can reasonably protect yourself from by washing your hands and not sneezing in people's face?

Watched movie version of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf to cheer myself up. Also to make up for missing stage version. Would have liked to see how the Tobacco Factory handled: I suspect that they would have to have lowered the pitch and made the characters more realistic. (Could casual domestic violence be openly presented on modern stage in that way?)

I have read the play, but had forgotten most of the details. In the end I don't know what it is about: it seems to be one of those mid century American plays which exists primarily as an obstacle course and work out for actors. The first act, with George and Martha simply being horrible, stands up the best; the gradual unworking of the folie a deux about the dead son seems by comparison artificial and contrived. The fact that the game is the medium through which George and Martha carry out their  fight prevents us coming to a human resolution. There were so many references to their bad marriage having lasted for a hundred or a thousand years and to witches and ogres that I wondered if the conceit was going to turn out to be that George and Martha were literally demonic or a supernatural beings, as Hilda arguably is in The Master Builder. 

I like the parallels and contrasts between the two couples: Nick and Honey being outwardly normal and loving yet clearly hating each other's guts; George and Martha being openly at war and yet at some level loving each other very much indeed.


Weather still very pleasant.


Mike Taylor said...

I watched the film some time in the last year. I found it was in bad need of some editing. About 20-30% of it was unnecessary repetition. I wonder it started out as a one-act play, or a short story, and had to be padded out to conventional film length? By repeatedly ramming home the same points the film ends up diluting them. Missed opportunity.

voxpoptart said...

I first encountered the play by acting in -- I and a close friend of mine were George and Martha -- and I've never really liked the movie performance. What I love about the play is that George and Martha are so clearly as perfect for each other as they are monstrous for the outside world: they both acknowledge, here and there, how lucky there are to have met a gamesman their equal. That's certainly how my friend and I played it: flirty and grateful in our vicious antagonisms.

And in that context, the fictional child works much better. Partly because it makes sense in their dynamic, but partly because it's the moment the dynamic stops working. For so long (although I don't recall any supernatural time spans in the play), they've pushed each other far beyond anyone else's breaking point, yet it's been a dance; the play is the document of George and Martha discovering that even they aren't immune to hurt. If they could survive anything, that would be one, happily supervillanous, kind of tale; the tale we get is a kinky sort of realism, indeed.