Project Arts Centre, Dublin
“We’ve got ourselves into a terrible pickle about staying in character and suspending disbelief and those literal manifestations of otherness that have become so central to a way of looking at theatre. I think we as an audience deserve more than that, or can deal with more than that, can cope with more than that” – Tim Crouch
I wrote a piece about The Author after its run in the Dublin Theatre Festival (the link to which is at the bottom of this post), where I paid particular attention to the tension, or negotiation rather, between the real and the illusionary.
Crouch’s play is a bold cocktail of theatrical harmonics and particulates, the consistencies of which are not necessarily sensitive or recognisable. Its aftertaste disorientates and betrays preconceptions. What we have in The Author is an arranging of theatrical elements towards Brecht’s ‘dialectical theatre’, resulting in an expulsion of, what Brecht calls, “an engendering of illusion”. Two seating banks are placed opposite each other, and there is an absence of any stage. The audience never lose sight of each other, the actors, or the performance itself. We negotiate through every word and every magnetizing pair of eyes. We learn to establish where we stand with each other. We become our own ‘authors’ and create our own landscapes of co-existence and social realities, only for Couch and company to topple our structures, burn our allegiances, and twist all that we hold reliable.