Thanks to a very good friend of mine I got to have an amazing experience last night. By chance, if one believes in such a thing, my friend had noticed a text message draw on tv and decided on a whim to enter. It was a while ago and he’d forgotten all about it, until suddenly an email appeared in his inbox. He’d won. And only then realised what exactly the price was.
Two tickets to a play at The Royal Playhouse. It’s one of the most pristine stages in the country with the most pristine theatre company… and I’d never been there before. It was such a gift.
I’ve always loved theatre. As a spectator and – more practically – as part of the crew making everything happen backstage for years. For reasons of my own I am no longer involved with any such productions and since parting from it was a rather unpleasant experience I suppose my interest for that which took place ON stage mercifully waned as well.
I always knew it would only be a matter of time and someone luring me back to the moments spent sitting in the dark amongst the expectant audience before I would again cave and admit to myself that I had hated being away from it. I don’t even remember how long it’s been since last I went to see a play, professional or otherwise. So, when he called and told me he had tickets to The Royal Danish Theatre I couldn’t have cared less what play it was. It was an opportunity and a grace too big to say no to.
The play turned out to be a classical Greek tragedy called Iphigenia. Neither one of us knew what to expect. I’d seen Shakesperean tragedies in the past, but never Greek ones and though Greek myth and history is very interesting and fascinating to me, I’d never heard of Iphigenia or her story. And even though we eagerly googled the story and read through the brief introduction beforehand it still didn’t really yield a sense of what we shuld expect.
A Greek tragedy. It sounds so somber. Yet it contained both lighthearted humour and warmth and vigor. It had to have that too to gain the depth of emotion and despair that it depicted so eloquently. I hadn’t thought of that. That in order to feel one thing there has to be a contrast to compare with.
The stage itself was as spartan as the term suggests. But it was impressive in its simplicity nonetheless and deliberately left it to the actors to fill the void between themselves and the audience. And they did. Expertly. Even those who didn’t have a single line during the entire play. It was impossible to take your eyes from in case you missed something.
It ended in a thought-provoking climax drenched in the blood of innocence. Or perhaps it was the blood of humanity. In any case, it left us not knowing what to think. In the good way. Like it was too huge to encompass with mere thought, only the heart could contain it… even if it hurt while it did. Oddly enough I found it invigorating, not depressing. An affirmation of life and love and how both are worth it, all things despite.
Like I said, it was an amazing experience that surely has already urged me back to theatre again – if only as a spectator. And I’m looking forward to it. Next time is already set up for the 26th of January. This time it’s a true story of criminal acts and investigation made into a play. Never experienced that either… so it will be another first.
It feels good. And I am so thankful to have a friend like that to share it with.
Ain’t life grand?