Rod’s Blog 23.05.12
‘Promised Land’ opens in one month. That sounds a bit scary! We are now at the point of doing staggered run-throughs of the play. As is always the case, at this stage we have moments of pure brilliance and scenes which can’t really progress without props or set. I just have to keep faith in my experience that what I plan to happen will happen when we get into the theatre. I talked about ‘fear’ being our big enemy last blog – and at this point we have to really come together as a team and build confidence in the work. With confidence comes ‘play’ – and I’m beginning to see the lead actors starting to ‘play’ with their lines – delivering them with subtle nuances and reacting to each other. The ultimate goal is to find truth in what they’re saying, what they’re feeling and what they are sharing with the audience. I have to say that the professionalism amongst the cast is impressive and I’m excited about the prospect of seeing this piece under lights, in costume and on the set. The set has the potential to blow the audience away – but beyond that I’m saying nowt!
Talking about ‘fear’, I’m relieved to be out of London at the moment. The streets appear to be adorned with massive Union Jacks which demand ‘celebration’, ‘patriotism’. Everything I read about preparations for the Jubilympics, makes me despair. I understand that there is a need for security – but the militarisation of keeping terrorism out of London has reached hysterical levels – and inevitably the basis of this hysteria is fear. Unfortunately it has become an excuse to clamp down on any kind of protest and to silence any kind of democratic voice. At this point readers might want to accuse me of being hysterical. In a recent You Tube video of the torch procession I was shocked and saddened to see the heavy handling of a photographer near Land’s End by the Met Police torch protectors. Such thuggish aggression comes from fear. The police have become so hyped up to expect trouble that they are in a state of hysteria which manifests itself in overkill. This is the first 20 minutes of the torch’s journey in the terrorist hotbed of Cornwall.
It would be a relief if I believed that such security madness was truly there to protect the public. I don’t think it is – it is about protecting business interests. The twitter account of an ‘official’ protest group against the Olympics was suspended by Twitter because they used a ‘version’ of the London 2012 brand as their profile picture. Yet again, big business has appropriated the Olympics. Let’s look at the corporate sponsorship of the Games.
Dow Chemicals is a major sponsor. This company now owns Union Carbide, the company responsible for the awful Bhopal Gas tragedy in which 3000 people were killed and nearly half a million were seriously injured. One of the world’s worst polluters is sponsoring sport.
BP is sponsor number two, with the claim that their presence champions, wait for it, sustainability! If you can’t see the simple contradiction in that one, then just Google “BP Oil spill” and see what links come up.
Finally, the major food supplier and sponsor is…MacDonalds. It’s okay – they serve salads in MacDonalds these days – so let’s buy everyone a ‘Happy Meal’ and forget the dreadful exploitation of global resources linked to all three sponors. Yippee! The Olympics are such a huge distraction away from the miserable time many people are having in Cameron’s Britain. Let’s wave a Union Jack and buy a McPoison burger.
About Rod: Rod became Artistic Director of Red Ladder Theatre Company in 2006, following his role as associate director at the Barbican Theatre in Plymouth. He has also ran The Hub Theatre School in Cornwall and been an actor with several companies including Kneehigh Theatre. Directing credits for Red Ladder include Where’s Vietnam?, Forgotten Things, Riot, Rebellion & Bloody Insurrection, Ugly, Sex & Docks & Rock ‘N’ Roll, Big Society! and Promised Land. Rod is both a life-long Liverpool supporter and a believer in Proudhon’s principles of anarchy – the two might be connected.