Tuesday, August 02, 2011


I guess I attend theatre performances far too rarely, but I suppose often enough to remind myself that I am not really a theatre lover. Althought there was I time when I enjoyed being on stage as an actor... or working as a stage-hand in London's West End... I never really found myself enjoying being in an audience.

Thus the record of my theatre-going is very brief. It must have been at the beginning of the seventies, when I was splitting my time between Paris and Zurich, that I was deeply puzzled by the play Katzelmacher which was staged in a small theatre on Oerlikon by Rainer Werner Fassbinder's own troupe. Kate must have talked me into it for some reason... baffling, since neither of us spoke German, let alone Boarisch or Schwyzerdütsch.

About ten years later I went to see Le Petit Prince in a tiny theatre in Montmartre, a performance I remeber being long on whimsy and... just long.

In Munich in the mid-eighties I was at the Kammerspiele to see the excellent Lambert Hamel in a play of which I have no recollection, but that was in my capacity as assistant to a producer who wanted him to play a part in a movie.

Yesterday saw me once again in a very, very small theatre. Five actors, supported by some well-intentioned if slightly obscure projected audio-visual sequences, undertook an exploration of Shakespeare's Tempest. Miranda was played by a girl who had attended the boarding school in England where my daughter spent a year. The venue had a certain charm, a rudimentarily converted barn in the back garden of a private house in one the affluent inner suburbs of Munich. There was room for an audience of about fifty and somehow I was reminded of a book I read so often as a young boy, The Swish Of The Curtain by Pamela Brown... telling of youngsters who persevered and finally managed to establish their own little theatre... one of many such books which should have made of me a theatre lover but didn't.

After the show there was wine and beer to be had in the basement of the house. The young man who had on stage given a very physcal Caliban turned out to be quite pleasant and the guitarist who had accompanied the performance strummed for a while longer.

"Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises,
Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not."

And my thoughts kept coming back to the damned egg!. Maybe a bit of theatricality is called for... perhaps a life-sized egg costume in which I might stand... and be mocked for hoping... Salvador Dali was surely trying to make an artistic statement. Fabergé deemed eggs worthy of what we would now call bling. Over-sized eggs worked quite well for Lady Gaga and for Kate Perry, too...

Anyway the egg has now been unwrapped. It has acquired a fitting pedestal. A mundane egg-cup would have not, I thought, been appropriate for an ovoid of such significance. Not that I own an egg-cup. The photo at the top of this post shows how I re-purposed the silvery-finished plastic cradle which had once supported an absolutely spherical bottle of perfumed oil ('Black Pearl' by Ajmal).
It was the perfect size to receive the egg's more rounded end and thus it now stands erect, with the inscription 'hope' legible, running from top to bottom. I suppose there is a vague allusion to the Tenga Egg but that is a direction which I do not choose to follow!

Where have the most recent days of egg-sploration taken me, then?

Given that it has been on my desk for several weeks and previously was in the care of the Deutsche Post it can be assumed that this egg can no longer be happily associated with bacon. It cannot be boiled for three minutes and served with white-bread 'soldiers'. Nor can its natural destiny as the origin of a new life be realized.

It can, of course, be an instrument of purposeful protest, as was the shaving-foam pie served to Rupert Murdoch to his great surprise when he was answering the questions of the House of Commons subcommittee just over a week ago.

Entering in Google the search terms 'pelted' and 'eggs' calls up 986 thousand hits.

Our egg as symbol of protest? How terribly easy it would be to smash it on the pavement and let the yolk splash onto the doormat... a facile expression of the rejection of crass consumerist values. (Should the 'broken/unbroken' art project throw up anything along these lines I apologize in advance for any hurt feelings.)

I think I shall postpone the use of the egg as a protest projectile.

Now what about that inscription? I've been thinking more and more that I find 'hope' a value or a feeling which is far from positive. Google again... enter 'hopes' and 'crushed' and the hit count is 11,800,000. Enter 'hopes' and 'fulfilled' and only 8,660,000 citations are returned.

In truth, is there ever an expression of hope which does not admit of an outcome which will be unwelcome?

"I hope I will not get caught!"... the poor bastard is well aware that he might.

"What if I do not get caught?"... now that sounds like a more positive mental attititude!

But 'hope'... so easily crushed. Just like an egg.

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