I’m in a play. Just in case you hadn’t heard. And I’m pretty old. So why would you want to see a play with old people in it? Shouldn’t the arts, and theatre in particular (which, we are constantly being told, is dying) be about young people? Shouldn’t it be up to date with the latest technology, with lots of blood and explosions and examinations of 21st century issues?
How about a play about love that lasts a lifetime. Are young people interested in that, as a possibility? Or are they only attracted to a play about young people who die young? Is it true that young people don’t believe that old people understand love? Is it true that old people have all forgotten what young love is like?
This play I’m in was written by a young man. Ben Power is an English playwright and dramaturg who was in his twenties when he moved from one of the UK’s most dynamic, inventive theatre companies, Headlong Theatre, to become an Associate Director at the RSC, (in 2009) who then commissioned him to create a modern day adaptation of Shakespeare’s text of Romeo & Juliet.
In this new form, Romeo is in his seventies. It’s not the same Romeo. This one met his Juliet at a dance in town when they were both teenagers. They married, had a child, lost the child, worked, played, lived a full life, and retired to somewhere on the coast. So they didn’t die young. Does that make them any less romantic?
I don’t know the answers to any of these questions. I put them out there as a challenge. Ben Power’s play, “A Tender Thing” is a challenge, not because it is difficult – it’s not a difficult play. It’s clear, open, refreshingly different. It’s Shakespeare, Jim, but not as we know it. It’s difficult because it takes a highly contentious, contemporary issue that is very much in the news and on our minds in this year of 2013, and examines it through the passionate love story of two otherwise ordinary people. Yes, they could be your grandparents. But don’t stop there. They could be you.
Friday 10th May, 7 pm (preview)
Saturday 11 May, 7 pm (Opening night)
Tuesday 14 to Saturday 18th May, 7 pm
Saturday 18th May, 2 pm (matinee)
Writer / Ben Power; Director / Linda Davey; Designer and AV design / Freddy Komp; Lighting Design / Daniel Anderson; Sound Design/ Scott Norris; Performers / Flloyd Kennedy & Michael Croome
Book your tickets at Brisbane Powerhouse.
Here are Linda and Michael talking about the production.
And another thing… We have the technology – and we know how to use it too!