07 September 2008

Kicking a Dead Horse by Sam Shepard

Hobart Struther - Stephen Rea
Young Woman - Joanne Crawford

Directed by Sam Shepard
Designed by Brian Vahey

in it's English premiere at the Almeida D 25
Actor in the audience escapes me - wonderful, Irish, plenty of white hair.

Like so many women of my age, Sam Shepard is an object of desire. He is rugged, intelligent and intoxicatingly private. What could be more tantalising?

That said, I can't make my mind up about this Beckett style piece. The performance was a real tour-de-force with Hobart's constant battle with his own demon. The restriction of the subject was well investigated. The horse was a fine a prop as one could reasonably hope. So why was I not totally engaged for the entire short duration? I was sitting off to the side as part of an attempted economy drive but the seat was still wonderful. Did I feel detached, I wonder? I kept thinking about how much more engaging the much longer production of Happy Days had been in the Lyttleton with Fiona Shaw. Perhaps it's as simple as that. Winnie was in a dire circumstance but happy with her lot. Hobart's plight is frankly less precarious but he is miserable and defeatist. You can easily love Winnie but you tend to lose lack sympathy with Hobart even though his mid-life dilemma is a very real concern. Perhaps that was Sam's intention. A companion piece to Happy Days. It certainly had a satisfy, albeit predictable resolution. Maybe I should read some reviews and perhaps find some of Sam's thoughts.

Lovely trip to the theatre on a Sunday afternoon though!