I went to the local theatre tonight to see Lost & Found, two interconnected plays about two people working summer hotel jobs written by married playwrights Jane Thornton and John Godber, and it’s pretty easy to tell who wrote what.
I won’t go into the specifics of the thing, just say that it was excellently observed whip-smart and charmingly performed by the two sole cast members. And while there were some big laughs for everyone, there were some moments when the whole audience were holding their guts in that I just couldn’t manage to raise a chuckle before…because it was kind of depressing.
Both plays are about romantic relationships, the messiness and problems therein, and like I said, it’s well observed, but that’s the problem. It’s important to note that most of the audience consisted of middle aged and up couples (always a disappointing sight at any theatre performance), and you could tell when something hit home because the laughs would sound kind of…confessional. That sounds weird, but if you’ve experienced it you’ll know what I mean.
So these people were laughing at the foibles and relationship problems they’ve likely been struggling with, like the characters, for years. And I found it somewhat hard to see the funny side of that. You’re just supposed to grin and bear being doomed to that? Maybe it’s my naive young mind hoping for more than a hellish holiday with someone I can barely stand, but I just didn’t get why everybody ate it up like they did. The whole thing was moving, don’t get me wrong, but it felt like they were kind of missing the horrible point of it all, simply choosing to laugh through the rose-tinted veil of “we’re like them, honey, only not nearly as bad,” which made things a little worse. I guess most of the audience were in the less uncomfortable phase of the ‘grin and bear it’ solution.
Or maybe they were just middle-class folks who don’t have to worry about shite holidays.