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Monday, 18 June 2012

A Kind of Sea


The Minack Theatre rests at the edge of a cliff near the aptly named Land's End in Cornwall, England.  The Atlantic Ocean below and beyond, as far as the eye can see.  I saw a play there once, the moon rising during the first act, the most perfect spotlight.  A place, once, for fishermen, now a scene for a play.  The Guthrie stands alongside the Mississippi River, an artery in its early days for agriculture, then industry--a main pathway for communication.  The Royal Danish Theatre emerges from the Oresund--the body of water between Copenhagen and Sweden--like Ophelia, rising to the surface; imposing, skeletal, frightening.  On a notepad I used during my visit there, I wrote: "a theatre by the water--as shocking as going to Fairway in Brooklyn for the first time.  There was a storm, wind whips, darkness falls."  A tempest is never far from a theatre.  Theatres should be on the water--a kind of sea unto themselves, where words drift and bob, and crash.  In the theatre this week, I've been reading a play about the sea; I am transported by words and water, I am writing about and composed of water, I am tossed about by water, and soothed by it too.  And when I leave this theatre, with its play about the sea, my first thought is to fly somewhere, and reach the ocean.