Tuesday, 4 May 2010
Rebellato/McLean/Macmillan, And So Say All Of Us ... (2010)
I'm not sure for how much longer you'll be able to use the BBC iPlayer to listen to last Sunday's broadcast of this radio play, but I'd suggest doing so sooner rather than later. It's very good indeed. Written by Dan Rebellato in collaboration with Linda McLean and Duncan Macmillan, this is a three-strand piece: a couple begin renovating their house; a pregnant woman is past her due date; election day is imminent. In each case, the situation gains an absurdist twist -- the couple end up completely dismantling the house; the woman simply refuses to give birth 'for a couple of years, at least', to the chagrin of her partner; the general election is held and not a single vote is cast by any elector anywhere in the country. Not all the scenes work fully, but enough do, and the election strand in particular provides some rich comic and satiric potential: I laughed aloud at the subsequent cabinet meetings, and media interviews with voters; and laughed louder at a scene in which not a single member in the audience of a Question Time-style show has a question they want to ask. And it's this portion of the play, with its Pythonesque twist and turns, that gives structuring coherence to the whole ... although the pregnant woman's Bartleby-Scrivneresque 'I prefer not to' is also well written, generating actual emotional heft by the end of the drama. Best of all, this play is SF; or, if you prefer, it's a comic fantasia spun from an eloquently metaphorical extrapolation of the present world: a metaphor that makes manifest the hidden passivity, studied rhetorical emptiness and conventional meaninglessnesses of contemporary life, political and personal. Also, it uses Churchill as a character in a much more effective way than the recent Dr Who/WWII Dalek episode. Highly recommended. (Full disclosure: Rebellato is a friend of mine).