"!" [Hollywood Blues] July 2013 - Page 10

EMERGENCY SPEECH ‘You know, we were lucky tonight’: the ?nal words of Rowena Easton’s “!” [Hollywood Blues] bring the work of her actors to a close. For nearly an hour, a small group of men and women have used their voices and their faces, illuminated out of darkness, to conjure a world of chaos and calamity into the dim and intimate space of a tiny theatre. Hard chairs, cramped rows, gathering heat: Easton’s audience is forced into close proximity with itself and with the actors. Actors? Is that the right word for a choir performance? As “!” [Hollywood Blues] begins, I’m thinking of Beckett’s Not I – its black space, that illuminated mouth, Billie Whitelaw’s teeth1 – and, too, of Jacques Lacan’s tantalizing comments on the function of the Chorus in classical Greek tragedy. ‘The Chorus,’ he insisted in his seminars on Sophocles’ Antigone in 1960, ‘is people who are moved.’1 1 See Jacques Lacan, The Ethics of Psychoanalysis 1959-1960, ed. J-A. Miller; trans. Dennis Porter. London and New York: Routledge 1992, p. 252. Beckett’s Not I is available to view at http://www.ubu.com/?lm/beckett_not.html 10