Worst ever theatre experience

Sergi Belbel’s A la Toscana, last night, first night at the Teatre Nacional de Catalunya, of which Mr Belbel is the boss. It was well staged, the music was well done, and the actors are the ones who get all the work on the nacional circuit, and none the worse for that. But, like the entire audience, except for the author and a few adepts, and like Quico at some local tryout a few days ago, I left after almost two hours without the faintest idea of what had happened or why.

That’s not necessarily an objection–I’d drowse through Parsifal any time–but it’s nice to have some kind of compensation. This may take the form, for example, of well-written dialogues, characters who are at least vaguely loveable (even if only that we may thereafter hate them), or, failing that, at least one decent gag, preferably involving a dog. Alas, everything in this piece was rancid amateurish wank.

I got a freebie, but if our Poujadist-provincialist bosses expect us to buy theatre tickets at 25€, then they might want to programme something whose value approaches that of a cinema ticket and a decent meal. Maybe writers should be forced to serve apprenticeships on soap operas, or have to prove that they have done something more than apply for subsidies. I don’t know, but it’s deeply offensive that substantial sums of public money are wasted on this kind of crap.

Update: I was so disturbed at the piece’s total badness that I slept badly that night and still feel unhappy when it returns to haunt me. Does this help explain why?

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