This letter in the Guardian, about the dangers of the stage, got me thinking about why live theatre is so exciting and it is, undeniably, because of the danger. I don’t mean – in this Health and Safety conscious age – the actual physical danger*, but more just the knowledge that things are unpredictable and the end has not already been filmed.
I’m talking about the bit in Antony and Cleopatra when Eve Best leant against a pillar and it cracked, as well as the sparks flying off the swords the first time I saw Coriolanus. The thrill when an actor speaks his lines and he’s looking straight at you, or when he corpses and no-one, including the cast knows what will happen next.
That’s why I love live theatre, and why film – although brilliant in its way – is totally not the same. Here’s to 31 more plays!
*At least I hope I don’t, although being spattered with fake blood is, judging by family experience, a higher-than-average risk…