Emma Geliot's picture

The Dying of Today

In The Dying of Today, a man walks into a barbershop with the worst news there has ever been. As a civilization falls, the conversation between barber and customer transforms both men on a scale that echoes the destruction to be found on the streets outside.

The Other Room s Artistic Director Kate Wasserberg who is directing The Dying of Today, says: The play is essentially about bad news. About how we feel compelled to share it, how even as your heart is in your mouth, some part of you is experiencing the thrill of your own survival and you feel a burning desire to tell another person, to share that feeling. I m fascinated by that. Is it an evolutionary advantage to spread bad news? The play is the story of the military defeat in 413BC that led to the fall of Athens. A historic account claims that news of the impending disaster reached the city via a single man, who, disorientated and filthy, wandered into a barber shop and began to talk. The story he told was unbelievable but true, and spelled the end of the dream of democracy for thousands of years. I was drawn by the idea of a democratic state that believes itself to be eternal, and that falls. I remember being glued to the news on September 11 2001 and how that felt. The world changed. In 413BC, the world changed for Athenians.

The play examines our relationship with tragedy though it is, perhaps unexpectedly, a dreadfully funny play and typifies the strangeness, wit, and grandeur of Barker s work. Our grim fascination with suffering and pain are unflinchingly interrogated and are shown at the last to be tempered by our innate empathy and ability to love.

The Dying of Today is the second production of The Other Room s inaugural seasonLife in Close-Up , announced in early January. The first production was Blasted by Sarah Kane, and the third will be A Good Clean Heart by Alun Saunders, a brand new bilingual play abut two brothers raised apart.

Script byHoward BarkerDirected by Kate WasserbergCast: Leander Deeny, Christian Patterson

The Other Room at Porter s, CardiffTue 24 Mar Sat 11 Apr, 7.30pmTickets www.otherroomtheatre.com Age guidance 15+