Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Return of Roderick Random

When I started writing this blog, I had visions of a community of likeminded individuals enjoying the cut-and-thrust of cultural debate on its pages, as some agreed and many disagreed with my musings. After a few months, I realised what an insignificant spec in cyberspace I was, and wherever the likeminded individuals were, they weren't queuing up to respond to my blog. And so I got a bit disillusioned, and work got busy, and I saw a couple of plays that I couldn't really be bothered to respond to, and read some books that did not excite the passions, and fell behind in my postings and soon it became like most of the other blogs in the multiverse, started in that first flush of enthusiasm, carefully nurtured for days or weeks or even months, but eventually cast adrift with the flotsam of cyberspace.

But one night, after a couple of months' abeyance, my mate Chris asked if I had stopped writing the blog which he used to read from time to time. And then I got a COMMENT. Yes, a real comment from SOMEONE I DIDN'T KNOW. And it was a nice comment. So thank you Ramona, your support was much appreciated. And I thought, there are some people reading this out there, must get it started again. But again the timing wasn't right, too many other things happening, and the Muse was hanging out and not returning calls.

But now...why now? Basically, because I realised it was time to reappraise the nature of my relationship as audience member with the play, or as reader with the book. Most audience members are passive consumers of the product placed in front of them, reducing their relationship with the work presented to them into an enjoyable experience, a pleasant night out, it made them think a bit, they liked the actor in such a part and the pretty girl and the music. And this is how I watch a play when I know I don't have to write about it. I may have some views on the staging or the lighting but they are hazy ideas, ill-developed pub talk. But when I know that I will have to write about something, the rules of engagement change. I need to be able to articulate the reasons why such a scene works or not. And that requires a much more active intellectual engagement with what is being presented to me. And that is what I was missing - I had become a passive consumer and I realised that my theatregoing and bookreading was becoming less fulfilling as a result.

So, welcome back Roderick Random. Critical faculties ready, spellchecker poised. Once more, stepping into the void. And this time, its personal...

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