After journeys to the frontier delights of fringe theatre at the Bush(racism), Southwark (underage sex)and Orange Tree( third world politics) it was off to the Donmar. A theatre that the oh so nasty Daily Mail calls “London theatres smuggest boutique”. Closer, the play that first came out in 1997 is an internet based story of a daisy chain of love and lust between a waif/stripper,journalist. photographer and doctor. In and out they fall in love and shag. In and out of each others lives they cry and scream. Oh how they do, Great stuff. And it still works ,so like Noel Coward and Harold Pinter we now have another dramatic staple which discusses sexual and social mores.
While Noel Coward always gets his people back in one piece, Closer’s Patrick Mauber takes a crueller view. Those that pursue sexual and emotional happiness at the same time will end up empty handed or worse.
Is it true? Real life does tell us that philandering if cloaked in dishonesty can bring its own reward. But that is not the modern way. It has to hang out or not be real. Ditch the dishonesty and shagging around instead of being a discreet pleasure, an afternoon pastime becomes a destructive force, a breaker of relationships and as we know more importantly families. The children may take it well, but they would say that wouldn’t they.
Pornography doesnt help. When even judges are looking at holes in one , two and three in their chambers and the biggest use of the internet is still porn, that of course pours high octane on the bonfire of relationships. For in the end while most have one or two coup de foudres in their lives and maybe the odd leg over it’s the ten per cent who are sexually active who are the problem. Its they who are doing it for the rest of us and like rampaging elephants they can upset the most secure of family homes. Homes that are not based on sexual pleasure and erotic love but more mundane and profound interests and virtues.
Because although there are sex addicts most wander off not in search of even more sex but wanting a love affair. Something that brings novelty, excitement,the thrill of the forbidden and the power of the secret, the whole nine yards. The excitement and bright lights of the affair cheer up everyone’s home movie, and in our consumer society whats is the logic of only having one. Love affairs if they are full on cannot be furtive they have to scream. And herein lies the problem.
In Closer the fact that all end up unhappy is a moral point but not really a very real one. In real life the music would have stopped before the last act and at least one couple would have put up with it.The others would have patched up their lives and made do. As you do.