Plays by Deborah Freeman

I have completed `Remedies,` a play about M E.  Background research...

Writing Groups

I am setting up a new writing group in East Finchley, to be held in the atmospheric location of an East Finchley...

Novels by Deborah Freeman

 A few years back. I answered an ad on the Radio 3 website, from the conceptual art company, Blast Theory...

Poems by Deborah Freeman

These appeared in the journal Jewish Renaissance, 2008.  `Fish.` `Fasting.` `Open a Gate for Us. ` `After the...

A Play in Search of a Metaphysic: Mosquitoes at The National

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Yesterday I saw Mosquitoes. By Lucy Kirkwood, at The National. Lost count of the number of times I wiped my eyes, and it was only a matinee. A moving and thought-provoking play, superbly written, acted, lit, directed, presented. The lot. 

This morning I woke up recalling a poet, who happened to be a Professor of Physics, in my first writing group, in Manchester. He was a great poet, with a scientist`s eye, I always thought, for colour, detail, texture, light, and so on. One day he came to the group with a letter from some authoritative critic, who had told him he had a problem. The problem was, the critic had said, that his poetry lacked `a metaphysic.`

Secretly – I never said – I understood what this critic had meant.

I thought about this scene last night after Mosquitoes. The angst-ridden hilarious, frequently moving, occasionally heartbreaking scenes of old people, frustrated siblings struggling to understand and love each other, teenagers coming to terms with life and its problems – all of this was authentic, outstanding.

All the actors were excellent. Olivia Colman, Olivia Williams, Joseph Quinn, Sofia  Barclay, Amanda Boxer, Yoli Fuiler, Paul Hilton.  

 I did find, however that the scenic mind-blowing stuff about the Hadron Collider clashed, literally, with the `human` content of the play, although all the characters` stories were linked with academic careers, or non-academic careers.

The use of the completely unconscious forces of physics as theatrical, emotional metaphors in a tale about dysfunctional families didn`t ruin the play, for me, because the overall effect was bright, sharp, funny, thought-provoking.

But if I had to choose a moment that for me epitomised the play`s philosophical problem it was in the brief scene between the two sisters. One was comforting the other because her teenage son had disappeared. One said, very tentatively, do you think we could pray? The other said, even more tentatively, well how would we do that? They couldn`t really decide how to do it. They held hands briefly. I think ( from memory, I have no script, and the moment passed quickly) one said it doesn`t matter what you think or say.

Religion, the arts, politics, society, music, philosophy, psychology, I found myself wishing, in spite of the play`s excellence, with an exuberance of witty dialogue that was a genuine pleasure to listen to, that the characters might link with some other area of human endeavour. Space, time, the universe, eternity, infinity; all that stuff. They were staged brilliantly, but when the characters enacted their scenes, I was with them wherever they were, in whatever place the dialogue put them. Furniture, walls, trees, parks, whatever the scenes needed appeared before my eyes, and became real. When the Hadron Collider was activated, or whatever happened to it – I was in the theatre, watching special effects.

 

 

 

 

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