2 Jun 2009

hoots of derision

In half term the family Botogol went not once but twice to the theatre. At both events the interval discussion was heated

The Winslow Boy by Terence Rattigan
starring Timothy West

Arthur Winslow is an unexceptional man but he is a patriarch in a small way - that's to say he's a patriarch to his family which I suppose is the only sort of patriarch there is.

His family depend upon him and that's quite a responsibility for any man and he has acquitted himself adequately. But when he perceives that his son's future is threatened by loss of reputation and honour he is overwhelmed and he fights in the only way he knows how: with the law.

His fight destroys his family, and himself.

In the interval the Botogol girls had trouble imagining any circumstances where the marriage and education of the one sibling might be rightly sacrificed for the benefit of the other.  "Over a postal order, no, I do see your point,"  soothed Mrs Botogol, "but perhaps", she ventured, "if your brother was faced with prison...".  Hoots of derision: their brother, chorused the girls, would undoubtedly deserve it.

Arthur Winslow is commonly supposed to be engaged in an act of principle: justice at any cost for a son he believes innocent.  I didn't see it that way at all: I saw his actions as visceral, his support unconditional: he fights for his boy, with no more than a cursory nod at the truth of the matter. Perversely, it's the QC's support which appears conditional on belief in the boy's innocence.

A view from the Bridge by Arthur Miller
starring Ken Stott.


Eddie Carbone is an unexceptional man but he is a patriarch in a small way: that's to say he's a patriarch to his family which I suppose is the only sort of patriarch there is. His family depend upon him and that's quite a responsibility for any man and he has acquitted himself adequately.

But when he seems to be losing his niece to a boy with a strange magnetism he cannot understand he is overwhelmed and he fights dirty with eventually the only effective weapon he can find:  the law.

His fight destroys his family, and himself.

At the interval the Botogol girls opined that he was a monster, they found it hard to imagine any circumstances where a father might feel it necessary to go to such great lengths to save a daughter from herself. Especially not a completely grown-up daughter all of eighteen. "I do see your point in this instance", I soothed, "but perhaps sometimes a father's experience might enable him to see something his daughter could not" . Hoots of derision: Fathers, they chorused, knew nothing about modern life.

Eddie Carbone is commonly supposed to be....well, I find I can go no further: this is a play I studied for O-Level so I have only entirely conventional opinions

Both of these plays are on tour and I recommend them - and take your family.

2 comments:

scribbler said...

Though I only spent two weeks in London in my 20s staying in home with a family, I loved how it seemed they went to the theater as often as we yanks go to the movies. I saw four plays while there including the Rickman directed The Winter Guest and Ralph Fiennes in Hamlet. In New York I went all the time, but in Texas, I haven't seen a play not meant for children in years. Sigh.

Botogol said...

Well, Scribbler, get yourselves down to the San Antonio Botanical Gardens this week to see Shakespeare in the Park: As You Like It, produced by the Magik Theatre.

http://www.magiktheatre.org/events/

It's even free.