Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Nor shall my sword

A month or so back I received a curious email from the Royal Court theatre in London. They were preparing a new play centred around the changing nature of Englishness, and in particular the English countryside. Would I like to come in and talk to the cast about Englishness, what it means to me and what it might mean to them?

It was obviously too good an invitation to turn down, espeically when I discovered that the cast includes not only MacKenzie Crook but also the brilliant Mark Rylance, who I have worked with before on a theatrical project that is possibly still brewing. So in I went, having read the script, and we had a great conversation about today's England. I hope they found it useful; I certainly did.

Anyway, the play - Jerusalem - begins its run this Friday, when I'll be in the audience. I haven't seen it yet, obviously, but from what I know and have read it promises to be something well worth seeing. What really struck me about my conversation with director and cast was how the whole idea of Englishness as a previously 'forbidden' identity is increasingly being reclaimed (see, for example, what Crook says in this recent interview). If you can get a ticket, I'd recommend it.

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