Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

A Little Life... "You are left in no doubt of the corrosive effect of trauma." @haroldpintertheatre

**SPOILERS👇👇👇 - if you've not read the book**
Last Friday night Stuart and I went to watch A Little Life at the Harold Pinter Theatre in London's glitzy West End.
And five days later I still can't stop thinking (or dreaming) about what we saw. We'd heard a few things about it before we went in, but we were not prepared for the shocking cruelty of it all. The whole show was quite visceral. And I found it quite triggering. We had about 6 people walk out. It had me in tears.
It’s a play based on A Little Life, the 2015 novel by American writer Hanya Yanagihara. We start with four friends on stage at a birthday party. Four New Yorkers reaching 30 years old. Four college friends. Each has a story to tell. Only one, Jude, has a devastating secret too.

As Jude's secret is very slowly revealed throughout the play it destroys the life of everyone around him.
It's a terrible secret to keep. It's a secret of child abuse, sexual and physical violence, rape, imprisonment, trauma, chronic pain, and disability. And all this gets acted out in front of us. It's not just hinted at. It's a pounding, relentless portrayal of abuse, blood and torture that left me quite breathless. And leads Jude to self-harm again and again and again. Cutting, cutting and cutting again. And due to the 3h 40mins running time of the play we see it again and again and again.
You are left in no doubt of the corrosive effect of trauma.
That said, it's brilliantly acted. There is a star-studded cast; James Norton plays Jude (him off of Happy Valley), It’s A Sin actor Omari Douglas plays JB, Bridgerton’s Luke Thompson plays Willem and The Witcher’s Zack Wyatt plays Malcolm. The rest of the cast is made up of Elliot Cowan (The Crown, 2:22 A Ghost Story), Zubin Varla (Tammy Faye, Equus), Nathalie Armin (Force Majeure, The Doctor), and Emilio Doorgasingh (Best of Enemies, The Kite Runner).
The much talked of stage nudity of the cast is mainly when portraying Jude as a 6-year-old, 8-year-old, 12-year-old and then 16-year-old boy being raped, beaten, or mutilated. Or in later life as a 40-year-old man as the beatings, abuse and rapes continue. Sexy it is not. Sickening to watch.
I can certainly see why when the Daily Hate published the leaked nude photos from the production - out of context - it must have seemed like it was publishing snuff movie child porn screen grabs.
I’m glad I’ve seen the play though. But goodness there is a lot of cruelty in it - physical and emotional.
I don't think I'll be reaching for the book anytime soon.

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