Is there a role for 'classical' theatre?

Alasdair MacNaughtan, 18 July 2012

By ‘classical’ we excluded Shakespeare (because, although he is, he is constantly being performed throughout the world on stage and screen) but included what might be called the canon of drama from Marlowe and Johnson through Shaw to Miller and Beckett.

One problem is that many of them have large casts and therefore are very expensive to produce and even if sold out would probably need subsidizing.

Also felt that many directors interested not in treating the plays reverentially but rethinking them to show them in a contemporary form. One of the group talked about an updated version of the Bacchae which she was currently working on.

We talked about the need for interpretation and it was noted that Pinter, even when he was acting in one of his own plays, accepted the director's interpretation and no-one knew whether he agreed with that interpretation or not.

It was said and this met with agreement that if an author didn't want the play to be interpreted, he would have written a novel.

Finally, theatre can become ‘classical’ and it may be that plays being written and performed now will continue to resonate with audiences and to be performed a long time in the future.



Mainstream, Classical