Back to Stratford earlier this week to see Mother Courage and her Children. I’ve seen this various production of this play over the years and was looking forward to what vision Martha Henry brought to it. Working within Brecht’s ‘deconstruction’ of theatrical artifice can produce wonderful results.
Mother Courage is, as you know, an allegorical figure blah blah blah – who cares, right? Regardless of the intellectual construct the play has to entertain as much as it seeks to educate. Sadly I found this more on the educational side of things.
The production is stolid, deliberate and staid. Nothing fresh has been brought to it. It’s not as if, like, say Waiting For Godot, in which every stage direction must be followed from costume to gender of cast.
A few years ago MacB was set in worn torn Africa & borught something new to the text in doing so. This production is pedestrian in staging, from costumes to lighting. The songs are fine, well-sung and were the best part of the show.
The cast is excellent – Seanna McKenna brings some energy to Mother but never really connects. I know Brecht didn’t want the audience from getting caught up emotionally but there is a difference, to me, between his temporal distance and performers disinterest in their characters.
Past productions I’ve seen may have not had the high caliber of Stratford but they had more energy and faster flow. They left me satisfied. This one was like taking your medicine.
October 19 – feature – Cabaret Noir – Pinebow
often it seems all they have to say
is that they live to have something to say
that the word is what keeps the alive
keeps them going
that the opportunity to share the word
is a struggle worth fighting for
that this is the revolution
that the chance to be heard is innate primal
that they’d fight to the death
for the chance to say their piece
which is about
how much they need to fight to say their words
I wait for them to get beyond this point
they have an audience here
who wants to hear them
who needs to hear more
than how important this is
how hard it is to struggle
to say what has to be said
isn’t there more to be said
than how hard hard the struggle is
to say what they have to say
what the fuck do you have say
get to the point
stop dancing around gasping for air
look for something fresh to spout
instead of falling back
on the easy outs
of how pure your love for some lady is
how there are starving children
struggling to say what they got to say
maybe what they want to say is feed us
yeah we love you to give us the word
but that word doesn’t fill our stomach
doesn’t put a roof over our head
doesn’t stop the abuse by people
who shout us down
like you shout us down
with their need to be heard