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Unspoken unease…

A fruitful time down at Oxfam the other day. Also picked up Alan Bennett’s Objects of Affection, which contains eight plays written for television, none of which are called Objects of Affection, despite the sub-title “and other plays…”. Rather, Bennett bundles up five of the eight as an Objects of Affection-themed package, linked by hospitals and cemeteries and the fact that “several of the characters end up dead.” I like the cover image. It seems that Alan Bennett constantly surrounds himself with lookalikes. I wonder how they feel playing his part. Look at the child version of AB, already looking about 65, despite the short pants. Where is he now? Does anyone know? He’ll be 32 years older than he was when he walked down this platform. A proper bargain, this volume, at just £1.99.

On the day of purchase, I was chatting about rehearsals and what it is to be in them. AB, as ever, sums up the writer’s lot magnificently in his introduction to Objects of Affection:

“The playwright has to learn to bide his time, watch and wait, while an actor achieves a performance often by a tortuous process of trial and error. To the playwright the errors may seem grotesque and the trial all his but to speak too soon (and that always through the director) may mean one ends up with no performance at all. Love and encouragement is the order of the day. I was once told off by the director Ronald Eyre because in watching a rehearsal of a stage play I had been rocking gently in my seat, this slight and involuntary motion being taken by him to indicate some deep, unspoken unease with the performance. It was actually piles.”

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