Sometimes I love what I do: I get to see theatre and write about it afterwards (please click and read here http://www.pukaarnews.com/reviews/).
Within the space of seven days I have seen two wonderful and culturally contrasting performances: The Hired Man and Hot Stuff at Curve. I don’t think you could get two shows as far apart on the musical spectrum as these yet for the past week they were performed about 10 feet away from each other, Hot Stuff on the main stage and The Hired Man in the Studio.
Audiences waiting to go in to The Hired Man (a study of raw emotion and courage set to an achingly beautiful score) stood and watched as Hot Stuff’s bulging lycra, bright lights and big noise pumped out into the night. And whoever thought to open up the theatre for those outside to catch a cheeky glimpse of this bawdy, bonkers show only to tantalisingly close the wing space a few minutes later is a genius. Leave them wanting more, someone famous has probably said.
Historically, theatre and culture are closely linked whether that is as a means of education or a way for communities to share and experience stories and traditions from both their own and other cultures. A society may enjoy opportunities for escapism as well as the chance to reflect on issues of the day, all expressed on stage.
But what is culture? The concept has been the subject of many academic studies over many years in the fields of language, evolution, anthropology, gender studies, colonialism etc etc (to save time I will unacademically refer you to Wikipedia).
Leicester is known as a multicultural city and, to me, one good example is for the last few days in April two shows in the same city in the same theatre have reflected in quite different ways a lot of what culture is about: humans coming together to share traditions and experiences.
And as a footnote, buildings of significance (in our culture) can also be used creatively as theatres as I hope to find out tonight at Town Hall Square with Kali Theatre http://www.kalitheatre.co.uk/whats-on/My%20Daughters%20Trial.html
Culture. That’s what we do.
Hot Stuff image by Pamela Raith Photography
The Hired Man by Melvyn Bragg and Howard Goodall, image courtesy of Mercury Theatre, Colchester