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...

`Prism` Different ways of looking at things?

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Last night I saw `Prism` at Hampstead Theatre, written and directed by Terry Johnson.

Surprisingly, the first of this writer/director`s plays I`ve seen – missed previous ones perhaps because I was in Manchester.

I read the programme with interest – after the show. I am glad to have seen the play.

But. Or should that be `And…?`

Actor  Robert Lindsay had suggested to Terry Johnson that he write a play (for him) about the famous cinematographer Jack Cardiff, who had apparently done amazing cinema work for decades, and photographed and filmed many of the Western World`s most beautiful women.

Normally, when I come across a story that involves one successful male artist asking another successful male artist to write a play about another successful etcetera who took pictures of the world`s most beautiful women, I do get a strong whiff of the scent of pre-feminism, and (rightly or wrongly,) keep away.

But this play was at Hampstead Theatre – I recently submitted `Remedies` to them – and it is easier to access than the National or the West End.

Of course the theatre world I dream of is one in complete reverse, a mirror-image almost. Imagine a not very beautiful woman asking another woman, beautiful or otherwise, to write a play about another woman, a play about a woman who spent a lifetime filming beautiful men. Are you imagining this?

Hard, isn`t it?

I got the feeling that the brilliant Claire Skinner, who my granddaughter was watching only yesterday in one of the first ever episodes of `Outnumbered` might have been less than enthusiastic about her own role in the play.  An old writing friend used to say that if you ask each character in a play who they think the central character of it might be, he/she will say: me of course.  Not in `Prism` they wouldn`t. In this play, neither characters nor actors could be in any doubt as to who owned the stage.  (And owned it, I will own, very entertainingly.) 

Given that it touched on almost all my prejudices, all at once – I also tend to dislike plays where the same person writes and directs! – I was surprised to find how much I really enjoyed `Prism.`  It was above all theatrically articulate, each scene the right length, shape, the opening of act two lifting it humourously and colourfully. And I hope Claire Skinner enjoyed playing Katherine Hepburn more than the pre-pre-pre- feminist wife of the play`s protagonist.  My late grandmothers, brought up in Lithuanian Shtetels, not given the intellectual education of their menfolk, and all that, were ten times, no, twenty feistier than she was. 

 

 

 

 

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