November Verse 6

Verse 6: On leaving at interval
We pays our subs and takes our chances.
Support the arts, put bums on seats,
and if the play’s a dud, well, cancer’s
worse and nothing really beats
the sense of risk when new creations
meet an audience: ovations
(standing)? or polite applause?
Will these two hours throw wide the doors
of hell and heaven? Last night neither.
We all worked hard: director, cast,
designer, writer, punters. Vast
good will drained away and by the
midpoint: ‘Who cares how this ends?’
we said, ‘Let’s go and eat with friends.’

At least we waited until the interval, unlike the occasion in 2010 that prompted the following (here’s a link to the original post):

This is just to say
We walked out of your play last night
from front row seats. We’d hung in there
for five whole scenes. The script was tight,
each actor sound, the set though spare
was spot on, and the vocal coach
had nailed the accents – no reproach
on that score. All these things were fine
but almost from the opening line
I couldn’t, couldn’t feel a thing.
I’d pay to watch two monkeys fart
if done with two boards and a heart.
Last night had timing, lines that sing
and sting. It’s heart that wasn’t there.
Sometimes a pause is just dead air.

3 responses to “November Verse 6

  1. And this Jonathan – from you – someone I always thinks sees something over-archingly positive in any poetry collection, novel or piece of writing. I mean – even in to-day’s piece of verse – positives there are – but yes, if that heart is missing – no connection to the same muscle/seat of emotions in the audience – then fair enough to take your (albeit polite) leave before the conclusion. I’ve only ever walked out of one film – it was at the vast cinema in Rose Bay – maybe four decades ago – something called “Figures in a Landscape” (?) – a contrasting pair bound together escaping something. It lacked any emotional appeal – nothing tapped into my own experience of life – I could invest nothing in either of the characters – my wife and I gave it time – then found our way out into the light! (I acknowledge resonance to Gough’s exclamation thanks to Dante over some Labor election victory!) something half-remembered as “E quindi uscimmo riverdele stelle.” (?)


    • Ah, Jim, sadly or otherwise I have a history of walking out of the theatre – though usually I wait for the interval. In this one, about two thirds of the way through the first half I decided I would sit in the foyer for the second half because I simply couldn’t engage (or really had lost engagement, because the opening scenes had something going for them, but it degenerated into a shapeless narrative about a playwright looking for a subject)


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