The alarm goes off this morning and groggy, the first thing I hear is “Gadaffi is dead.” Exit Tyrant of the month, stage left even.
The last thing I see is Richard III, played by Kevin Spacey, limp on in full Military garb exclaiming as he goes to his death in battle, “Blow wind! Come rack! At least we’ll die with armour on our back!” The stage is a vast slate grey emptiness, lined on either side with nine creaky doors. As Spacey explained after the show to the group of students I brought, “because so many of the characters make such untimely exits…”
I don’t know which tyrant is real and which imagined. Of course I do, but I don’t. Somewhere Gadaffi lies on a plank or a floor like the fictional Clarence in Rich III. What are his wounds like? The stage ones with the plum red gashes? Worse? Is he dismembered like Orpheus, spread out among the vast sands of Libya?
Spacey’s real voice was mellower, sandpapery. They’ve already been to several cities, (http://www.richardsrampage.com/), Hong Kong, Istanbul, and for ten months they are heading around the world. Would they go to the Midddle east I thought. No, the despots there would never allow it.
But things change, don’t they? Spacey’s villain was one I wanted to hug. I clapped for his ascent. I pitied his deformed back and imagined the hell he went through growing up alongside proper royal specimens. (He’s crippled for gods sake!). When an actual earthquake rocked the theatre, I prayed the play wouldn’t stop and held my breath with 7oo strangers.
The actors final thought to us was this, “right after the winter of our discontent can follow the Arab Spring”
Like Beckett said: I can’t go on. I’ll go on.
We go on.