Sunday, 6 November 2011

John Hodge on Collaborators, 4th November 2011

What was it? John Hodge talks about his play Collaborators at the Cottesloe, which I reviewed here

I'm not sure why I booked tickets for this long before I had even seen Collaborators. I'm worried I was hoping to see Alex Jennings (I did but only getting off the bus on his way the the NT). My obsession is out of control.

Once I did see the play I was strangely looking forward to this. I had given it a harsh review but I couldn't get it out of my mind and I hoped Hodge would answer the questions that remained.

Hodge, it was explained, like Bulgakov was a doctor too. It was also mentioned that this was a film script but nobody wanted to make it so Hodge sent it to the Literary director of the National Theatre, added all the necessary exits and entrances theatre needed (though didn't specifically demand the odd zig zag staging) and subsequently gained interest from Sir Nicholas Hytner, Artistic Director of the NT and director of the play. I'm still unsure why this is in the Cottesloe with such huge names in the cast, the cynics over at West End Whingers suggest that Hytner thought it wasn't good enough for the Olivier or Lyttelton and wouldn't have sold out. I think he was pandering to the egos of SRB and Jennings, who never get to perform in the Cottesloe before they are darlings of the theatre world.

The biggest issue with this platform was that many in the audience had yet to see the play and were seeing it after the platform (perhaps I should have done that) so there was a NO SPOILERS air and a lot of questions being asked that would have been explained if they had just held tight for another three hours. The things I wanted to know I was too scared to ask, why such a poorly written supporting cast, was that a relic of the film script? Why didn't the NT put on a Bulgakov play whilst Collaborators was in rep?

I was also left with the impression Hodge wasn't really aware of what was going on in terms of the actual production, like things had happened inbetween his handing it over and the press night that nobody told him about? He seemed perplexed, though diplomatic, about the set and didn't give any opinions (good or bad) about the cast though he may have been aware that Mark Addy was watching him in the cheap seats.

I've probably been left with more questions than answers but I do enjoy a NT Platform so I will forgive

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