article on present : tense in 'the friday thing'

the following is an article published today in The Friday Thing:


nabokov is a young London-based theatre group consisting of four playwrights, four directors, two film makers, two poets and a musician (um, not quite, but we'll let it slide - nabokov ed). Last Sunday evening at the Old Red Lion pub in Angel, they were sat together around a large table, all of them quite disappeared behind a sea of newsprint. What they were doing was completing step one of their new project: finding the story. At the end of the session, they had decided. The story was the Bali suicide bombings. So, step two. Step two was slightly trickier. Step two was to go off and create a night of theatrical performance using the Bali bombings as their inspiration. The end result will be Present : Tense. They gave themselves seven days to put it together.

nabokov carried out a little survey recently, quizzing the general public on their attitude toward the theatre. The most common reasons people gave for not giving two stuffs for the theatre were primarily that it's boring, irrelevant, expensive and full of old people. The members of nabokov are determined to try to change this perception. Giving themselves just a week to prepare an evening's entertainment which will be politically relevant, and above all, entertaining, is brave of them. To chart their progress, they've also created a blog, updated by each of them throughout the week. Last night there were a couple of first rehearsals. The excitement, and the tension, are mounting.

Present : Tense will consist of live drama, film, poetry and song. It could, of course, all go horribly wrong. However, even if it does, the chances are it will be a damn sight more exciting than any evening of Rod Stewart songs masquerading as drama. There is also a very good chance that the subject matter will give rise to some controversial material. Already on the blog there is talk of attempting to explore some of the motivations of the suicide bomber. In the current environment, where even to begin to attempt to see things from the other side is tantamount to capitulation, it could be that theatre will provide the ideal medium in which to challenge conventional thought.

Whether nabokov can manage to make a success out of Present : Tense or not remains to be seen, but there can be no doubting the courage and the conviction of its members. Whatever happens on Sunday night, it seems highly unlikely that the words 'boring', 'irrelevant' or 'full of old people' will be bandied about in response. Not that there's anything wrong with old people of course. Apart from the fact that they're reactionary and remind the young of death. Oh, and at a fiver a shot, it's far from expensive.

If you want to be a part of what could turn out to be a revolution in political theatre, call the Old Red Lion box office on 020 7837 7816 to reserve your place.

We'll see you there.



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