Blue/Orange – Footnotes
The Footnotes to our episode on Blue/Orange include some further thoughts on the significance of the slightly awkward back slash in the title of the play.
We talked during the podcast about the significance of the title, particularly of the superficially awkward back slash. The back slash implies something that is both blue and/or orange simultaneously, which of course the oranges are perceived as in the play. Likewise, the labelling of Christopher’s condition is ambiguous. At its simplest, the identity of an orange is defined by the colour of its skin, as Christopher is called black because of the colour of his skin. The analogy is signalled more explicitly when Robert refers in his report to the “blue-skinned orange” as being in the “minority given that other citruses are ordinarily orange”.
The semantics of our labelling people and medical diagnoses is cleverly conveyed in the artwork for the title of the play used for the recent production we discussed in the episode. The design shows a single capsule of medication, one half of which is orange and the other blue, but the words Blue and Orange are fixed to the reverse colours, so we experience that mind trick of not noticing that the orange half of the pill is actually labelled blue and vice versa. It reinforces the doubt that we should be acknowledging in the difficulty about labelling people and particularly of course in labelling mental health conditions.
Tyrell William’s award-winning, debut play Red Pitch is set on an inner-city football pitch in South London. It is a coming-of-age story, with teenage boys fighting to believe in their dreams, and to find a way up, and perhaps out, of their changing community. The play premiered at the Bush Theatre in London in February 2002, winning several awards, and is currently enjoying a sell-out revival at the Bush.
Tyrell Williams, and the show’s director, Daniel Bailey, join me to explore this joyful and poignant new play.
Photo by Helen Murray.
Martin McDonagh’s 2004 play The Pillowman is an unsettling mix of gruesome fairy tales, child abuse, and murder, overlaid with McDonagh’s signature black humour. McDonagh’s blend of extreme violence and ironic comedy divides opinion, although the popularity of the current revival of the play in London’s West End is testimony to its enduring fascination.
I am joined in this episode by Professor Eamonn Jordan, to help us come to terms with the impact and intent of McDonagh’s work.
Accidental Death of an Anarchist by Dario Fo and Franca Rame is both an hilarious farce and a biting satire. Written in 1970 as an “act of intervention” in response to the unexplained death of a prisoner in police custody in Milan, it became a huge global hit.
An acclaimed new adaptation that updates the setting and scandal to modern-day Britain is currently playing at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, and I’m delighted to be joined by its writer, Tom Basden, and the director, Daniel Raggett, to talk about their adaptation and the enduring relevance of Fo’s original.
Before the theatres went dark this month I was lucky enough to see Caryl Churchill’s A Number at the Bridge, and spend more than seven hours in thrall to Robert Lepage’s Seven Streams of the River Ota at the National. Plus, some thoughts on what we miss when there is no theatre.
Another great mix of shows this month, from Tom Stoppard’s new play, to Ibsen, Beckett and newer plays in smaller London venues.
The January roundup included both classic plays, such as The Duchess of Malfi, Uncle Vanya and Three Sisters, as well as recent musicals Dear Evan Hansen and Girl from the North Country …