The World is Too Much: Posthuman Satire Slash Romance
Fresh writing taking on stale language
This article is from 2009.
In an island of lamplight bounded by the dull beat of a nightclub’s ‘throbbing ego’, a drug-dealer, his blind wife and a mate shout, shag and think their way into a tangle of words.
This is Chris Hannan’s contribution to the Traverse Theatre’s early morning series of plays, grouped together as ‘The World is Too Much’, a phrase taken from a Wordsworth sonnet.
Still sleepy audiences might have come in for a coffee and a nice sit-down, but they’re asked to stomach a lot more than just a bacon roll. This is a well-read ‘Bouncers’, a lyric on London nightlife which wonders about rejecting cynical perfectionism and hollow irony in favour of a ‘posthuman’ state of rediscovery and reengagement with the world.
And all the while Edinburgh’s offices have barely finished checking their inboxes.
The characters suffer from a furious ineloquence, as their limited vocabularies limp in and out of Hannan’s careful poetry. More than anything, they are bored of the words they must use and re-use, and long for a newer language.
Their voices freshen only when they become entirely absorbed with their subject, entirely angry or entirely sad. It is in these glimpses that we feel the characters strangely liberated and less forlorn.
The piece culminates with a vile and memorable scene. Marie (Molly Innes) and Nash (Andy Clark) grind together in pleasureless, pointless sex as Keith Fleming’s Greene soliloquises on celebrity breasts from on high – the club toilets, we think – and pelts the stage with discarded underwear.
Hopefully, Hannan will develop this into a full-length play, and will keep thinking about Wordsworth. There is certainly enough here already to be getting on with.