I love Lorca. A beautiful poetic agitator, writing for women at a time when that rarely happened, poking holes in lazy assumptions, questioning things. My grandfather was of his generation in Spain and got the hell out before the firing squads. Lorca wasn’t so lucky, and was shot. By idiots. At 38. His plays remain. (And the idiots are coming back.)
I went to a cinema to watch some theatre. No way I’d have got a ticket to the theatre it was playing, but watching it live on screen was good enough. I saw Simon Stone’s brilliant modernisation of Lorca’s great Yerma. Bringing this tale of a life ripped apart by longing into a modern frame. God it’s good. No wonder it got all those awards. Billie Piper is a powerhouse of an actress, and gives so much in the title role. Afterwards we were wondering how she puts herself back together every night.
It’s an epic play about a woman trying to conceive. Grand domestic theatre. Right now so many of my friends are reaching a time where they are either struggling to make a baby, resolutely denouncing the very idea of a baby, playing the host body for a baby, or sleep deprived and wondering why they went to all that effort to have the fucking baby.
My best friend is heavy with child. My ex just had her second. Loads of my friends are in the early stages of a new life twining round their own. There’s nothing like that proximity to make you aware of your own choices. I’m thinking and talking a lot about babies right now.
I doubt I’ll end up with a kitchen knife in my belly if I don’t have kids. (It’s a modernisation, oh Lorca enthusiast.) I like other people’s kids – as they say, you can give them back. But my own? You’ve seen how I exist. I can barely book something a week in advance. My brother asked me to babysit on Monday, and I was so uncertain about whether I could or not he retracted the offer mid conversation and said he’d send them to a sleepover with one of their friends.
I don’t have the biological imperative, but I still hear the ticking of a clock. I was basically still a kid when dad died, and he was very sick for a long time. I didn’t know him in the way you know people when all that growing up bollocks is out of the way. If I’m going to make a person I’d like to have a sense of how they turn out before I pop off. Coupled with the fact that it’s valuable for them to have parental role models. I guess I want to be there for any notional children I might end up with, because I lost my parents before I was 30 and the older I get the more I understand the things I never got to talk about with them.
So, yeah. Simon Stone’s Yerma has sent me off into a happy sort of melancholia as I stand at a bus stop and feel the cold air of winter blowing in. Lorca’s original is important, and probably contributed to the fascists shooting him, since he was picking at institutions like patriarchy and Catholicism. This adaptation resonates hard with me now – (she’s even a blogger). It’s done with compassion skill and humour. And theatre exists as a trigger for thought. Even on a cinema screen. Catch it if you can. I’m glad I did at last.
It was weird watching the curtain call in a cinema. Nobody clapped. In America, they clapped at the end of Get Out…