Monday, October 20, 2008

"The Lesson" - October 2008

A quick trip into The Tron and its smaller, intimate space The Counting House for benchtours Production of The Lesson. At only an hour long Ionesco's play does make for a short evening out.

Starting off gently the tale of a Professor (Peter Clerke), his new young student (Kirstin McLean) and the Professor's over-protective maid (Catherine Gillard) we're beguiled into relaxing into what seems to be a gentle tale about the naivety and over-confidence of youth. However things quickly take a darker and more sinister turn.

According to Wikipedia (what did people do before it?), Ionesco is described as one of the founders of The Theatre of the Absurd along with Beckett and given our experience at "Waiting For Godot" we're probably not the best audience for it. The performances were all of a high standard with Peter Clerke delivering some fine verbal tongue twisters and Kirstin McLean providing some equally impressive physical acting. Gillard's jack-in-the-box maid is delightfully bizarre given her relatively short stage time. There are some lovely touches involving some complex mathematics and a final scene that rounds things up nicely.

However, for me "The Lesson" was like when you look at a surealist painting and you can admire the skill that went into its crafting, and you can see some of what the artist was trying to achieve but it's just a little too bizarre for you to be able to say that you like it.

The Lesson continues an extensive tour, visiting Cumbernauld, Aberdeen, Fortrose, Dornie, Rosehall and finishing in Adross. See benchtours website for full details.

Photo by marc marnie. Used with permission.

2 Heckles

Bluedog said...

I agree that you have to admire the craftsmanship - it was all really well done, even down to the squint picture. And I suppose it is left to us to make of it what we can - indeed, just like a surrealist painting.

I enjoyed it, but preferred The Chairs and Rhinoceros, both longer pieces and more entertaining, but ultimately just as baffling.

The Times is running a weekly column on looking at modern painting - each week readers are invited to comment, and an 'expert' also comments. It is very interesting, if only because what the public has to say is often very different from the expert, and just as valid.

Statler said...

I like being challenged by theatre, made to think and even puzzle over what I've seen, but I need to know that there is a message in there for me to fathom out. I'm not sure I'll ever appreciate plays that, to me, just seem to be absurd for the sake of it.

But I've just booked up for Pinter's "The Caretaker" at the Citz as one last attempt to 'get it' before I write off the genre entirely (a £4 preview ticket is all I was prepared to venture given that I may not make it past the interval so it won't get a 'review' on here).