Sir Peter Hall appeared in a small tent in a large Suffolk field a few weekends ago, as part of Latitude Festival.
There was such a good turnout to see the great man (in a tent about the size of the one I’d brought to sleep in) that they had to take one side of it apart to accommodate the masses before putting it up again as people lost interest and it became clear that nobody could hear anything because of nearby bands.
In any case, Sir Peter was being interviewed by Thea Sharrock, but things quickly got handed over to the audience. And the problem with these sort of audiences is that they’re all a bunch of young theatre try-hards forever referring to “our industry” and asking boring questions angled towards self promotion.
So we didn’t get answers to any interesting questions. Were you worried the RSC wouldn’t be a success? What do you think of it now? Any good stories about Judi Dench? Do you secretly hate Trevor Nunn? Why the beard?
No, instead we listened to questions such as:
- Do you consider new writing important? (Translation: I’m going to give you my script at the end no matter what you say)
- How important is it to encourage young and innovative production methods? (Translation: We’re doing an all female mime version of The Importance of Being Earnest in Edinburgh and you turning up would be great publicity)
- Do you think the use of the term philanthropy rather than subsidy is a deliberate plan by the current government to devalue the arts in linguistic terms? (Translation: My MA Theatre Studies thesis on Marxist interpretations of 21st century arts policy could really do with a few more quotes from famous people so it looks like I’ve done some original research)
In short, we could have dispensed with the questions entirely and just have had everyone kneel down in turn and beg “Please, please, please launch my dramatic career!”
Luckily we were spared most if this as nobody could really hear anything due to the bad sound system in the tent and the very good sound system on a nearby stage. At least Mumford and Sons were good.
Pretty exciting video below.