Pinter and Pirandello. Theatre going in Rome.

I shouldn’t go to the theatre in Rome. I don’t understand. We don’t do surreal in Bradford. We don’t like having to decipher meaning. We like a story with a clear beginning, a middle and above all a neat end.

   I loved the recent English Theatre in Rome’s performance of Harold Pinter’s Old Times. Great acting, ridiculously small cellar-like theatre, all crammed in together sitting on the stairs, nice and cosy. But an ending that leaves me saying, “What on earth was that all about? Was she dead? Were they all dead? Were the two female characters the same person?” is just too unsettling for me. I can’t cope with the sense that I missed something, that I’m just too dense to understand. And that was in English.

Teatro Argentina. No stage lights, just full house lights throughout the play.

      And then there’s Pirandello, a playwright much loved by my literary Italian friends, but for me almost incomprehensible. Especially when at tonight’s showing of La Trappola, the director/actor announced that there was a strike by the theatre workers so there would be no lighting or music. (I’d crossed a picket line!). Was it just part of the play? As it turned out, no. The final supposedly blacked-out shooting scene spoiled by the actor saying, “It should be dark at this point.” It was a play about the meaning of life; why are we born, if we are only to die? There was some reference to a horse. I don’t know why I do it to myself…

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