Do whatever it takes to get along to Improbable's Lifegame, at the Lyric Hammersmith till the 17th.
I saw it tonight and without an instant's hesitation I'd place it right up alongside The Street of Crocodiles, The Be(a)st of Taylor Mac, and Andrew Dawson's Absence and Presence as one of the most ineffably beautiful evenings I've ever spent in a theatre. Like all those pieces, its own heart-aching generosity is utterly (and consequentially) dependent on the generosity of its audience. Generosity is coming to feel like a limp word in writing about theatre but I can't think of a better one in this instance. Lifegame is, by the end, sort of like one of those cheerful circles in which everyone's sitting on the lap of the person behind them.
Of course, this still being me, there's an edge of crossness to my experience: crossness at the standard-issue live art rejection of theatre, as characterised by Marina Abramovic's (literally) hateful comments in this interview with Robert Ayers, which in the aftermath of tonight's show seem not much more than stupid; at everyone who's ever spun the idiotic line about the supposed 'passivity' of the theatre audience, as if that condition were a structurally embedded and insoluble predicament, rather than reflective of a weakness in the artists' conceptualisation of theatre-making as an act; and at the immense amount of critical verbiage being expended on BAC's current season of one-on-one performance -- much of which work is, I'm sure, fascinating and worthy of discussion, but all of which is necessarily predicated on a refusal to engage with theatre's (increasingly?) difficult aspects of communality and sociality, as signally privileged over the individual experience. Lifegame does not behave itself militantly in relation to any of these questions, but in its every gesture it gently rearticulates them all, to very great effect. In saying I was moved by the show I would want all of the fractional meanings of 'moved' to come through.
But I'm not cross, not really. I just wish everyone who thinks a two-hour theatre show on a traditional pros arch stage can't possibly be earning its milk would go and see Lifegame. Improbable probably wouldn't tell you this, but, honestly, right now, it couldn't matter more.