Dreaming About Theresa

I don’t know what can have been the cause, but last night I dreamt I was voice coaching Theresa May. It can’t be because I want her brand of politics to get a better hearing, I find it abhorrent. Maybe it’s just because she makes so many speeches which we get to hear bits of on the news, and they are always so boring. In my dream I was showing her how back in the 80s Not the Nine O’clock News satirised politicians, pointing out similarities between the satire and her own delivery. Awake, I think The Two Ronnies might have been better source material. I know I spent some time trying to stop her saying ‘I’m very clear’ so maybe it was in the interests of my health, as any politician who says they are or have been clear generally means the opposite, and it winds me up. What we were aiming for in my dream was a little spontaneity, some glimpse of the person she presumably is. Perhaps I should have got her to talk about kitten heels.
I wonder if the dream was sparked by hearing Michael Gove speak on the television. He’s another politician I can’t stand at any price, the one who opined we were all rather tired of experts, but he does have a good voice. Donald Trump gets my prize for worst speaker. He’s so dreary. It always sounds to me as though he’s drugged up to the eyeballs. My guess is he thinks it makes him sound presidential. It doesn’t. Or maybe it’s a more cunning plan; have such a dull delivery no one can bear listening to you and it’s only after you’ve left the room and the transcription of the speech has been read that people realise what nonsense you’ve spouted.
Some politicians here with shady morals and a loose grasp of the truth like to lard their speeches with Latin. It is s a ploy that makes them seem slightly eccentric and thus not subject to same rules as the rest of us, and also reminds us they had a classical education. As did I. Or rather I had two years of Latin at school of which I remember very little, but it’s odd how Latin phrases creep into my vocabulary even so, and I suspect they are a shorthand for something I don’t fully understand. But they can also be used to exclude, and I think that’s what BoJo and JRM are doing, reminding the rest of us they are more refined, on a different plain, Eton educated, entitled, established, and the case of JRM, extremely rich. They are both poseurs. Culture in the both the narrow and wider senses can be inclusive or exclusive. We are living in times when exclusivity seems the watch word, and that exclusivity is embodied in national movements around the world. Under the guise of protecting these cultures we bar outsiders, announce that they are diluting our cultures, introducing new ways that are at odds with this sacred trust. It’s all nonsense. Culture is fluid, it evolves. The moment you fetishise it, it ossifies.
One of the biggest achievements of the New Globe Theatre, Sam Wanamaker’s amazing creation, is how it honours the theatre of Shakespeare while being firmly in the present. There are companies who claim they are performing Shakespeare as it was meant to be, ie all male casts. I believe Shakespeare was an innovator, a bit of a magpie, and were he alive today he’d be embracing everything that would enhance his plays. Emma Rice has now left the Globe. The theatre wasn’t happy with her use of lighting and technology. I saw her Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2016 and it was brilliant, but her Twelfth Night last year was, for me, very disappointing; it was as though she wanted to use everything in the toy box, and the result was overload.
Which brings us in a roundabout way back to dreams. The Globe players have an intimate, immediate relationship with their audience, some of whom are resting elbow and chins on the stage. They learn to interact with this proximity and exploit it. Theresa May, despite her claim to want to talk to real people, doesn’t seem to like this side of the job. She won’t take questions; repeats stock phrases like mantras and seems nonplussed when asked about the ordinary things in her life. She probably doesn’ write her own speeches, but she must approve them. There’s an irony that she delivers them with such lack of conviction while the Globe players, speaking lines written five hundred years ago, can make them fresh, pertinent and personal.
I’m off to bed now. I hope tonight’s dream cinema is entertaining.

6 thoughts on “Dreaming About Theresa

  1. I wonder what a Shakespearean could do with a Trump impersonation. God knows he could use a few more words in his vocabulary (and probably a few more firing brain cells). The dullness you see is just a vast lack of knowledge about anything other than his own self interests. He is truly dim-witted in spite of his claims to having the highest IQ in the world.

    • Hmm, Shakespeare lived at a time when involvement with politics could have fatal consequences so he tended to steer fairly clear, but given how he sends people up, I am confident Trump would have influenced a minor character or two.

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