circa

10 Mar

Circa

by Tom Ratcliffe

at the Old Red Lion Theatre

This play gives us incidents in the life of a gay man late teenage until 35. The gay man, referred to as Young Man or Man is played by two actors.

He begins as a seventeen year old school boy who has answered a query from an Older Man. He drives to the man’s apartment and finds him there, all ready, in his dressing gown. The boy was expecting to go out for a meal or at least have something cooked for him. The Older Man is only interested in getting the job done. Sadly he cannot get his equipment to work. After three tries, the boy decides to leave despite the older man’s desperate attempts.

This is probably the most amusing scene in the play. The next one is about his affair with another boy of the same age just as he is about to leave for Art School in London.

I found this production very difficult to follow as there is quite a bit of doubling up and the characters are not given names – just Man, Young Man, Older Man etc. . I found it irritating as if the author was being deliberately infuriating/adventurous/innovative with this kind of gimmick. It was not until I read the actual playscript afterwards that I knew who everybody was. I also realised on reading it that the dialogue was well written. Watching it I was too intent on working out who everybody was.

The incidents are pretty well acted, once you have found out who the characters are meant to be. It is difficult for the actors to retain consistency in their performances – too many things to think about – but they more or less succeed.

The sex scenes are played in a series of blackouts, – very short ones . The lights dim as undressing starts, then quickly go to black and the lights come up again almost immediately as the characters are buttoning up their various garments.

I met a young girl – a member of the audience – afterwards who said ‘I’ve seen it all before’ and added ‘It’s supposed to be a Gay play – they could be anyone’

What more can I say? It has been around for a long time in various venues – I’m talking about the play, though I guess it also works for the sex.’

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