literature

  • 12 Apr

    Death, Pride and Prejudice

    Hello world. Hope all is well in yours.

    The first part of 2018 has been a curious one for me. During the first week of January, my stepfather passed away the gloriously ripe old age of 91. He’d been battling Parkinson’s Disease for a long time, and my mother had also endured a great deal looking after him during his final years. It’s a grisly terminal illness and I was glad and thankful to see the end to both their suffering.

    The greatest trick death ever pulled is convincing you its all about you. Of course it’s not. Death doesn’t happen to you. Once you’re gone you’re gone – wherever that may be. Death happens to everyone else. The shock, the tears, the seemingly endless practicalities. The tedious minutae of planning. That’s the essence of death surely. Grief and logistics. Those left behind have to process so much. Even in this case when it’s expected and indeed welcome, death really is exhausting.

    So recent events ensured that start of my year was oddly timeless. At once fast yet slow. After an inevitable period of adjustment, I suddenly realised it was April. Running concurrently with family events, I’d taken a break from improv and stand up to take part in a theatrical adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. After last year’s Zoo Story, I was approached about playing Mr Bennet, the distant and sarcastic pater familias of the family at the heart of Jane Austen’s classic commentary of love, family and early 19th century social airs and graces.

    I readily accepted. I like being sarcastic and if I get to do it while wearing late Georgian fashion all the better. The production is being staged in Denmark by Copenhagen Theatre Circle and I’ve had the pleasure of working with some talented, lovely people. It’s rare in this game to meet people who are both talented AND lovely – they’ve always seemed to me hitherto mutually exclusive – and thanks to this vibrant cast, I have laughed and learned a lot along the way.

    Pride and Prejudice opens on April 18th and closes on 28th. It’s been an intense and intensive schedule during the build up and at times it’s been rather gruelling. I’ve been spoiled by improv I have to say. You just get up with nothing and create on the spot. I’m an impatient show off and I enjoy the instant gratification from winging it and discovering funny and extraordinary multiple characters in the moment. I find improv to be closer an experience to stand-up comedy than conventional theatre and I’d forgotten the more arduous aspects of the latter. Blocking, thrashing out character motivation, weeks of rehearsals and, of course, learning lines. Still, I was flattered to have been asked and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the process of finding the character, trying to bring a little piece of myself into such an iconic literary figure. I am proud to be involved and look forward to taking the stage next week.

    That said, we haven’t even started the run and already I’m exhausted. But being exhausted seems to be defining quality of 2018. Family has been front and centre both on and off stage. Seems fitting to reflect on how one feeds into the other. As I pretend to be an emotionally absent father who struggled with his duties towards his wife and daughters, I can’t help but reflect on the role my stepdad played in my life. He too was a complicated man, but a good man. He was no stranger to stepping back from the more dramatic aspects of those around him and often indulged in considered bursts of wry sarcasm. I suspect he and Mr Bennet would have got on rather well.

    Pride and Prejudice 
    18-28 April 2018
    Weekdays at 19:00
    Saturdays at 14:00 and 19:00
    Sunday at 14:00
    Buy tickets here

    Krudttønden
    Serridslevvej 2
    2100 København Ø