Up Close

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.

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One Response to Up Close

  1. Johan Vivian VAN DIJK says:

    Very thoughtful and leaves me thinking of the conflicted lives people live; I don’t see what you’ve written as being confined to men only. I recall the life led by Lucian Freud, the admirer and painter of women; lover to most. And then, of course, we are regaled with Mick Jagger and his chick of 28, a ballet dancer no less : agility and fragility all in one.
    I also began to pen some words which I may finish that pick up on what you’ve written :
    ‘He never really did know what he’d done,
    Until the women left and he ended up alone…’
    The affairs are great, no doubt, at the time…but how many really patch up lives and carry on? You split, watch the turmoil in the kids if they’re too young to have left the nest, and both parties never really settle into comforting, understandable and familiar ways again: the idea of all that that scared one into looking elsewhere in the first place.
    Making do is a difficult notion to take in, true as it may be.
    You’d rather wish that it was different, that you weren’t living out a personal ‘nightmare’ because the alternative is…what?
    Living alone?
    So, is that what you’re saying..you make do because the alternative is even worse?
    If you’re a sentient and caring being, not selfish or self-centred, you’d have thought it all out before hand, wouldn’t you?
    Ah! I remember writing on the subject a couple of years back…

    OH! US (You read of it all the time…)
    To the whiles of others he’d been impervious;
    A winsome wife a restraint on being frivolous;
    Forget the hype, about the type – he’s serious;
    Honestly, it’s for others now to be lascivious;
    But open up, was it really so mysterious?
    The girl, the place, the thrill of being devious
    Ensured the wow!
    The first time was tempestuous…
    He’d even admit to it…
    The frictions had been adventurous;
    They’d been exhausted by fevered moments repetitious.
    To cool it and reflect on it would for some be expeditious;
    But why do that? So far, each moment’s been delicious!
    It was not love, so why not carry on and be licentious?
    To the straight-laced, the excuses seemed preposterous;
    [They might have said]
    Of this, as actors playing parts, we’re conscious.
    If our partners found out it’d be the end of us,
    Then where’d we be?
    Oh God, the onus of not doing it…
    Just thinking it; and, all the while mendacious
    And, thinking thoughts…adulterous.

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