Awkward?

This post is the long-awaited sequel to Ground Zero, covering the continuing adventures of the Blog Soul Brothers, following their first meeting this past Sunday.  Taking my cue from Peter Jackson, I am planning to expand relatively modest source material into a nine hour CGI epic (OK, there won’t be much CGI – but I suppose I might inveigle on my brother to bring some of his critically-acclaimed Paint skills to bear).

When we left our heroes, they were enjoying a responsible half (each – budget limitations did not force us to share a single half) in a public house located in London’s trendy Islington.  What happened next will astound you!  (And people say I’ve learnt nothing from Buzzfeed).

Given that we had both made the trek into London and that I could not be certain we could sustain an entire day in conversation (not, in fact, a problem: I’m now fairly sure the act of talking could carry us through several days, if required – or even if not), I thought it might be an idea to organise some sort of structured activity for the evening.  Given the literary nature of our brotherhood, I naturally thought of the theatre – and while options are limited on a Sunday, the Finborough does offer a performance and via my (paid) friendship I could score us a pair of free tickets (I am an attentive “date”, but may be doing things on the cheap).  Thus it was we made our way, via the UK’s most famous resistance movement, to sun drenched Earl’s Court.  It is at this stage that the attentive reader will be starting to think (probably with some justification) that I have massively oversold what happened next.  Let’s just say that I was directing that particular sentence at those whose bar of amazement (and wouldn’t that be a great name for a piece of confectionary?) is set pretty low, and leave it at that.

I will admit that I had not massively researched the play in advance, beyond the convenient nature of its timing, and so it was that we attended the World Premiere of A Third by Laura Jacqmin.  The staging was very interesting, with the theatre re-cast as the interior of a New York apartment.  Most of the audience were perched around the edge, but some had to sit on the apartment’s furniture.  Having been set up by my brother (who nabbed the last edge seat), I found myself sitting at the dining table (though I didn’t remain here for the whole performance).  The “third” in the title refers to an established couple bringing in a third person (initially singular but later plural) to boost their enjoyment of the activities associated with, what I will in future (thanks to Adam Rutherford) be referring to as, gene flow events.  In consequence, all of the cast (of four) spend a substantial amount of the play in their skimpies (though the play also boasted the most costume changes I’ve ever seen at the Finborough) – and, given the very modest size of the theatre, the audience is very close to the “action”.  At various times, I found myself little more than an inch from some of the cast, and at one stage was moved from the dining table to the couch so that two of the characters could get physical (to quote Olivia Newton-John) without me becoming the unwanted meat in their amorous sandwich.  My brother found this very amusing, though I was far from the worst located of the audience when it came to close contact with the cast (and being at the edge was not as secure a defence as some had assumed).  Part of the joy of the play is watching the rest of the audience and their reactions to what is happening: the staging makes us all really rather complicit in the events portrayed.  It also became important after a certain stage that my brother and I did not look directly at each other for fear of collapsing in inappropriate laughter.

The play is rather good and deliberately funny in many places – and I had a chance to enjoy much more comfortable seating than is theatrically traditional.  The moral, if one exists, is probably that you want to be very sure you are the sort of people who can handle it before you invite a third party (or parties) into the marital bed (not just wish that you were such folk).  One of my main takeaways was the sheer size of the feet of one of the actors – they were massive: long, wide and tall.  I’ve seen smaller examples gracing CGI giants, and the rest of his body did not seem proportionately huge.  How the poor boy acquires shoes – or even socks – I don’t know, I suppose he may have them made specially.  Or perhaps he is allowed to keep his foot-based costume after each acting job?  Was it this hope of a regular supply of footwear which drove him to follow Thespis, I wonder?

Writing this post, I have been struck that my choice of play could be considered a slightly awkward one, given its thematic content and the fact this was the first time two people had come together in the flesh (as it were).  I would like to reassure readers that there was no underlying motive (and I have cross-examined my subconscious very closely on this topic) in my selection and I am not attempting to force anyone into a ménage-à-trois (or even à-quatre) against their will.

If I am honest, the real revelation of our evening at the theatre was the joy of going with a friend.  I have always gone stag to the theatre in the past, but discussing the play afterwards with my brother – first on the tube and then on the Southbank over a hot chocolate – was an absolute joy.  I suppose it probably helps that, as a writer, he is full of interesting insights and questions – but I had no idea what I’d been missing out on all these years.  I may start dragging him to the theatre on a much more frequent basis.  Perhaps this largely anti-social stance to culture of mine has been a dreadful mistake?

All good things must come to an end (as I believe the Second Law of Thermodynamics insists – it also has little succour to offer bad things) and so a little before eleven, we caught our separate carriages (as supplied by BREL and Siemens) home.  Conversation had to move to the form of SMS text messaging and my inadequate thumbs were pressed into service.  I am slightly surprised (and disappointed) that giffgaff have not emailed me to check if my phone has been stolen: in a twenty-four hour period I sent (and received) more texts than usually occurs in an entire year.

Is this the end for our heroes?  Did Southwest Trains defy expectation and actually deliver them to their respective homes in a manner congruent with its timetable-based promises?  Did anyone think to drop an unaccountably vitreous item of footwear before the clock struck midnight?

To be continued…

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