Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Hissing "the Mysteries"

No, I didn't really hiss them - the Gloucester Mystery Plays, that is; though I'm afraid we left Gloucester Cathedral this evening at the interval. I guess we are spoilt by so much fine professional theatre, available at the drop of the hat in our locality. I certainly felt a bit guilty, not sitting it out; but the Cathedral was freezing, the acoustics as always terrible, the lights dazzling, and the performances and production mostly, well, amateurish. Should one bring a quite different set of standards along when the subject matter is our Christian bible? Hmmm, perhaps - something of an Advent penance then? Oh dear!

My photograph shows the stage, which straddles the nave (audience members either side). It would have been more fun if it had been a promenade performance, like the stunning one we went to there in July. That would have allowed for more audience involvement too, which might have lessened the embarrassment.

There was some quite edgy music, not entirely fitting. The best bits were the short bursts from Gloucester's great organ. "God" was played by a number of different actors (all rather better than the rest of the large cast): each was resplendent in one of the Cathedral's fine copes, thus confirming the suspicions of those laymen who believe their clergy to be omnipotent.

The title of this post? Apocryphally, Dr. Spooner, late of New College, Oxford is said to have addressed an undergraduate thus: "Sir, you have tasted two whole worms; you have hissed all my mystery lectures and been caught fighting a liar in the quad; you will leave by the next town drain."

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