Saturday, 7 June 2008

The Deep Blue Sea (2008 Revival)

"To love with one's eyes open makes life very difficult"
Terence Rattigan, "The Deep Blue Sea" (1952)

This is a play that opens with an attempted suicide. A woman is found by her neighbours passed out next to a gas heater. The only reason why she isn't dead is because she forgot to put a shilling in the meter (I have to confess I love the touch). Soon we find that she did it because her lover can't reciprocate her love, and she knows it - the line above being something she is told.

It would be hardly a play I would recommend to young lovers. Its main theme is the disintegration of relationships, but it is a fantastic play, almost a British version of a Tennessee Williams drama. I have no words other than these to describe it, but it produced quite an impact on me, mainly because of the richness of the text and Greta Scacchi's wonderful performance as a woman who has sacrificed everything for a love affair with a man who can't give her what she needs. There's a moment (immortalised in the poster for the production) when her lover comes back, unaware she tried to kill herself, and he grabs her from behind and for a brief moment you can see why this woman left everything (including a very dull husband) for this younger former RAF pilot. And all without a word... Marvellous.

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