It’s a bit of a late update as I am really busy, but I wanted to make sure to mention this. After grabbing some Nando’s after work one day, I met with my parents at the National Theatre to see After the Dance. I was tired as it was but then saw a sign saying the production would be THREE hours long, including two intervals! I hoped it was good!
The time flew by so fast that I would have to say it was one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time. It also seemed extra meaningful for me to see it at this time in my life, although I expect it would be relevent to many. It was really interesting to read in the programme how the play is considered a ‘lost’ play, and thus isn’t that well-known.
It follows a group of friends who ‘talk of nothing but the old days and the old parties’, and seem to be slowly destroying themselves with their drinking habits. I consider myself to having a drinking problem, purely for the reason that I sometimes don’t know when to stop and it causes me problems, so it’s something that I’m trying to find a better way of doing. To drink, and still keep my health, and my friends! I know I’m not the only one that behaves like an idiot when drunk, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay.
Anyway, there was a division with some of the characters who didn’t drink, and it escalated into questions of life, love and relationships. The first half was mainly sugar-coated with humour, yet by the second part the audience was met with the raw emotions underneath the masks. It was beautifully tragic. The script was amazing and the actors brought it to life.
One of the threads that ran through the play was the idea of being a ‘bore’ if you didn’t drink. This is probably one of the big reasons why I over-drink. Sometimes I tell myself I’d rather be boring that too drunk but it doesn’t work. I’ve been called boring a few times by people I know are ignorant of who I am. Yet, I am affected by what people think. On parents evening once at secondary school my history teacher told me and my parents that I needed to participate more in class, something which I’d been told my whole life, and yet they added that I would ‘never be the life and soul of the party’. So, is it any wonder I like a drink or two?
I think labels like that are terrible, and the reasons why I didn’t participate more than others were not purely down to shyness. As I noted to two school friends last night, maybe the shy people would say something if everyone else shut up once in a while. I feel my shyness is a battle, but it is something I fight against because all my passions require a bit of confidence – spoken word performances, dancing, and organising many “events” for friends. Yet, I also embrace my shyness, as it is a part of my nature, as people will often be able to tell during my poetry sets, or when talking to me for the first time.
Anyway, it is a subject I could go on for ages about, but the point I’m making here, is that I know I don’t need a drink to have fun (I had a sober night and stayed up til about 2am last night with my friends), but sometimes the idea of a being a ‘bore’ probably does influence my habits. I find it hard to stop, so I just need to get the right balance and be more conscious of my choices – easier said that done when you start to get tipsy. I think I just need to stop planning to get drunk, and worrying about being drunk “enough” and just relax and enjoy myself, and stop being such a fucking stereotype.
Overall, the play was emotionally engaging and intellectually stimulating, and I’d defos recommend it!