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11 November 2010

It's Chilly Outside

I set myself a project to write about "John Gabriel Borkman", currently running at the Abbey Theatre.

However the weather is so hideous in reality that thinking about the frozen north, with a disfunctional family that would have engaged Freud's attention for years is "not a good idea". The play is well worth seeing, but I continue to wonder about the bucolic gang of happy theatre-goers who flocked (probably from the pub) last week and who rocked with laughter throughout. The ending, tragic in the extreme, did bring a silence that was in keeping with such a tragic tale.

Audiences at the Abbey are an interesting social phenomenon, a cultural parallel to the opera buffs in Milan who shout and whistle during first nights. I was at a production of "Hamlet" at the Abbey years ago where the school children, delighted to be out for the night, chanted "To be or not to be..." along with the energetic hero who kept going regardless. A shocked visitor to our little country gave off yards during the interval, explaining that "Hamlet is a tragedy, not a comedy". We pretended to know nothing about anything and kept any knowledge of years reading Auerbach to ourselves.

Then there was the night when accompanying a gang of boys who had spent some considerable time in the pub, we were almost thrown out by the front of house managers as the loud comments gathered momentum as "Translation" was somewhat lost in translation along the way.

Get yourselves off to Ibsen's play if you can, don't forget (as we did) that it starts at 7h30 not 8 and be prepared to be very engaged indeed by a terrible tale of emotional disturbance, not to mention money missing from the bank. Dublin, Ireland, Autumn 2010

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