Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Beginning an NTS commission

There’s another journey beginning.

 It comes from a commission from the National theatre of Scotland, who a while ago asked me to investigate the possibility of writing something about Spain.

 Which I did. And now I’m going there.

I’m a little scared of the journey, because I don’t know what I will find. Or where it will lead.

 The last time I was there I was still living as a man. I’d gone to Córdoba to translate The Force of Destiny as a kind of therapy, to reassure myself that after my partner’s death, and in the midst of atrocious grief, I was still able to write.

 It was unbearably hot, I remember, and when I went to Granada I was shocked to discover that the snow on the Sierra Nevada had all melted and the mountains looked so jagged and cruel.

 That was where I lived in 1970, under the dictatorship, suffering also under my own dictatorship. That of gender. Equally savage and horrendous and cruel.

 Maybe it was revisiting those memories, I don’t know, but something happened during that journey that made it inescapably clear that I could no longer bear to go on living as a man.

 So now when I return, living t last as a woman, I really have no idea what will happen.

 Maybe nothing at all. But somehow, this journey from repression to liberation is at the heart of the play.

 I’ve written a very plausible and very exciting outline, as you do, but how I’ll do it in a deep sense I really don’t know.

 Something else that scares me. As always.

 I’ve compensated for the fear by drawing up an itinerary, with hotel rooms and train journeys and everything... but its organisation conceals quite a profound kind of chaos.

 For this journey, in the end, is not about destinations or sights or hotel rooms or railway timetables, but deep into me.

 Doing “Queen Jesus” in Brighton I took the audience on a little journey through darkened rooms and I said “I love this place, with all its doors. Doors leading into unknown spaces. Just like the doors of the human heart”.

That is the journey. Opening a new door. Into quite possibly a darkplace.

Maybe it's about letting in the sunlight.
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