Eve and I haven’t seen each other for a few months. We decided to go see Lands at the Bush together since we missed it in Edinburgh last year. It was a strange evening – Eve began to feel quite sick and I’ve just generally been a bit depressed recently but I’d had some not-great news which made it worse.
After the show Eve had to catch her train so we decided to do a review through voice notes. It’s a little subdued, this one. A little quiet, a little sad. Maybe that works for the show, though. The second half of the conversation is on Eve’s blog – https://walkingwithheadphones.wordpress.com/
We hope u like it
Um. I hope you’re okay. I’m doing this on the train home because I’ve decided to run back to my family home. Um. Yeah. I’m speaking quite quietly so I hope you can hear it. I’m sorry I had to run off I was a little – um – and I hope you’re okay.
Okay let’s talk about the show.
I feel like it was about friendship. But also. Probably a bit more than that? And I feel like I felt kinda really close to it and I didn’t quite know how to dissect myself from it. Um. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. And I also felt like um I really wanted to give them both a hug and I don’t know if that’s like completely the wrong response? I don’t know. What do you think.
Hello. Are you feeling okay? Did you throw up in the end? I think it was a good idea for you to go home, I think that’s wise. Um I’m also being quiet so I don’t know if you can hear. Um.
And yeah I’m okay.
I don’t really know what to say about the show.
I found it extremely difficult to separate myself from it. Um, kinda what you said. In a way which is like – I don’t know what to say about it because part of me – I feel like I’m projecting so much onto it. But also I think that stuff is there and it’s deliberately a show which is you know allowing you to project but yeah.
Yeah I don’t know.
A tough watch.
Yeah it was long.
Um no I have not thrown up.
Yet. But I have a plastic bag so we’ll see what happens. Um I really hope they didn’t think I wasn’t – because I genuinely think I looked white as a sheet in that show so hopefully they didn’t think it was the show and it was actually – if you read this, it was not the show, it was me, I am ill. Um. Yeah.
I understand the projection thing. That is. So fair? And completely like – I just wonder what they were trying to do with it. And I loved it but I also felt very very frustrated by it because –
I dunno like
There was no solution – but obviously that’s not the point.
But I think I wanted to look for something else?
But I don’t know I don’t know I honestly don’t know.
I don’t know if we’re allowed to do extra ones but as an extra one
I also found it deeply sad. And even at the end I couldn’t even laugh I just found it like my stomach had been pulled out of me, I don’t know.
Yeah no I found it frustrating as well but I think for a different reason. I liked that you know when – it could have ended when they start doing the jigsaw together but it doesn’t. And she goes back to the old habits and they both go back to the old habits and I liked that I thought that was a really
And nuanced like observation of relationships. Like it doesn’t matter – friends or romantic or whatever.
Um. I did find it frustrating. Maybe it’s just because I find absurdism quite frustrating. But I don’t know I was never bored I was never annoyed, I just wanted to shake them and be like get out of your weird habits, you’re both…bloody weirdos.
And like for me it was very much like – I was projecting onto it – like projecting a partner who’s like – mentally ill or who’s depressed or stuff. Just from my experience of that. Because the bit when Leah’s trying to get Sophie off the trampoline and she’s like “and go and go and go and go” and she tries to pull her off and then Sophie screams at her and it was very reminiscent of like
Me, two years ago
Being in bed, refusing to get out of bed to go to therapy and the, uh, boyfriend at the time dragging me out of bed kinda as a joke but then I was laughing but I was also like sobbing and it was very much the same thing
Which was awful but kinda cathartic
It wasn’t really cathartic. I just felt sad mainly. But maybe that’s because I’m sad.
And I also thought the use of music was so interesting – cos like – it kinda reminded me of how you use music in your work – because obviously – well you’ve used Modern Love before – didn’t you use it in Seeking Intimacy? I can’t remember. But like – I just love – I’m just such a sucker for like – pop songs in theatre – I just like think it’s so great. But just the way Modern Love became so menacing and awful and like – I associate it with that bit in Frances Ha when she’s running down the street and it’s playing Modern Love and it’s like a naively joyful moment, but also a bit sad. But in this it was just
Because you could hear Sophie shouting “please!” over the beat and I just thought –
Yeah I thought that was interesting.
Um. Yeah. I think that
I projected the same things that you – I mean not the same, but similar things onto it that you did. I found mine straying more towards friendships and family than I did towards relationships, because I associate more with – I think there’s obviously love there, and I think it’s really hard to think about the ways love is really really hard, and really um
Not only hard, but also um can be frustrating in the ways I found the play frustrating
Like I think you’re right there was no solution, because people go back to their old habits and things aren’t perfect. And I thought that was very apt.
But yeah I think that ultimately it was like this could be anything, but it’s also not just anything, like I think we all know what’s going on here. And it’s interesting I think it was um agh bleugh
Very true and all the emotions were very true without saying it?
It’s the most interesting way I’ve seen of someone talking about an issue without actually talking about it because usually I find that a bit annoying because I’m like
We all know what you’re talking about
We all know
Just say it
Just say it
But they didn’t do that and it made the bit where she pushes her off – or pulls it out from under her – so much more painful. And so much more like…ooh. Yeah. I felt that. I totally felt that.
I – yeah.
Oh yeah, music was so good. It’s really interesting in the text, I was just reading, it was like it should be songs that you – that the performers feel good about and that they associate with and it’s like ooh, Okay. So – what do those songs mean to those people and this is about their specific relationship and it’s not just about anyone
But it also is
I don’t know it’s just interesting because it’s like well this is clearly about them and only them but it’s also about everything people go through, every relationship, I guess.
And yes Modern Love was in Seeking and it was a similar um – menacingness.
Poor David. Poor David Bowie. Sad.
I can’t really articulate it very well.
Sound of the train stopping and doors opening.
Ooh. Sorry. Just arrived at my home train station. Um yeah I think I can’t articulate it very well because it feels obscure and it feels like – I don’t want to say anything definite about it – like that was what that was and that was what that was. And that was what that moment meant. Because I think I want to read it again. And just like – figure it out a little bit more I think. But I think if anything it was very good at making you feel things on a very basic level. That sounds so stupid but like – you just feel quite feel simple feelings but with complex ideas which I liked.
Um no yeah I totally get that about simple feelings. And I really like that because that’s like – it’s a text I’m going to go back to – there are certain texts I always – if I feel uninspired or stuck with playwriting then I read certain texts and right now, it’s like, it’s usually like
Victory Condition and Anatomy of a Suicide
And Some People Talk About Violence and it’s just because I like those voices and the way they complexify relationships and I think Lands is gonna be one of those texts because I think the way it dramatises like those beats
Is so precise that it’s like
Incredibly painful but spot on. Yeah.
I also thought that like I thought a lot about FellSwoop because – well is Nasi involved in Antler? Like – I don’t – I’m not sure.
Because I don’t know if you ever saw Eurohouse – I know you saw Palmyra but I don’t know if you ever saw Eurohouse but it reminded me a lot of Eurohouse um
In the way that it’s like
We know what’s going on
But it doesn’t annoy – because I think that’s such a hard thing to do in theatre like – metaphors in theatre, literalised metaphors are so hard because most of the time if they’re not done well you’re just sitting there and you’re like
I GET it
Like just as you said
Just say it
I know what you’re trying to say
But I feel like this was like Eurohouse in that
I was just very ready to go with it.
And yeah I know we were saying this before
And I know you’re actually sick
And I’m actually sad.
But it did make me feel very very sick
And very very sad
And maybe partly for those reasons and that’s fine
But yeah I just felt very ill, very hemmed in. Something about that dotty – I don’t know how to describe it – kinda perforated backdrop and floorboard made me feel quite sick. Yeah. I dunno. Something about that was strange and disorientating, I guess.
And just like
Like a lot of the time in theatre – like if you’re writing a play or you’re making a play – there’s so much – or if you’re acting – so much of it is about intention
Like why are you doing this why is this person saying this and what was really nice – well not nice, it was awful – about Lands was that it was like – they did these really casually cruel things
And not in the way that Tinker in Cleansed is – not in the way that he cuts off Carl’s feet – but in the way that she’s like – I’m going to give you a glass of water, I’m going to slap you around the face – but quite softly. Like it was just awful. It was horrible.
I also like – sidenote – loved how the descriptions of the puzzles were so horrible – like the way she was like “oh this is from the raging bull scene, this is from the scene where the runaway train runs into the fairground” just these casual pockets of violence. Which is something
Not to generalise
Not to be like
But it is something that I think younger theatremakers like Barrel Organ do so well – well obviously Barrel Organ with Some People – but they just like slip in these moments of absolute horror and terror – and in No-One is Coming to Save You – because it just feels incredibly real to us. Yeah.