Monday, August 08, 2005

Thinking about Yeats

The blog's been quiet for a week or so, because I've been on a family holiday in Wales. Holiday reading was Roy Foster's biography of Yeats. I've been interested in him ever since I went to Ireland and did a course on Irish Theatre at TCD in 1986. I suppose that was actually the experience which started my fascination with post-colonial theatre, and the ways in which drama can come to redefine identity in the thick of political change. That's why it's so interesting for me to read about Yeats from the point of view of an historian rather than a literary critic: unlike Jeffares, or even the wonderful Ellmann, Foster is able to present Yeats in terms of an ever-changing cultural and political landscape in the turbulent moment of de-colonisation.

What's fascinating about this in terms of Border Crossings is the way in which Yeats created a theatre form which was both mythic and multicultural (even intercultural), but (as Foster makes clear) also addressed very immediate political realities. People tend to be very dismissive of Yeats' plays as intellectual and esoteric games - but I remember how very alive (and very clear) it was possible to make The Dreaming of the Bones when I did a workshop on it some years ago. He's a writer with a lot to teach us.

Back from holiday to find a letter from Collage Arts, from whom we let our office space. Not surprisingly, they've decided the period of charity has gone on long enough, and we should pay a commercial rent. That's fine for us provided the other companies in the consortium can do it too: but if they can't, then I fear we may end up being faced with a huge rent bill we can't possibly manage. The last thing I want is to go back to running the company from home: we outgrew that years ago! Fire off an email to the other consortium members and cross my fingers.

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