Here We Go at the National Theatre
Caryl Churchill’s new play Here We Go runs for approximately 45 minutes and is followed swiftly in the New Year by another short play at the Royal Court (Escaped Alone, running from 12th January until 21st March). Here We Go explains why Churchill has been given two major runs in London theatre (if an explanation was ever needed). January cannot come quickly enough.
It begins with a wake – surprisingly jovial wake full of interjections and half-realised praises for the deceased. The scene begins so abruptly, it is as though the audience have stumbled into the action. We are quickly introduced to the characters and their self-prophesied deaths.
Scene Two arrives in the form of a posthumous monologue. Patrick Godfrey’s delivery of this complex and endearing speech is simultaneously moving and humorous: sometimes apologetic, sometimes fearful, it is a beautiful piece of theatre.
And then the final scene happens. For a play that is only three quarters of an hour long, it is a brave statement to spend almost half of it in silence. It is profound in the way that becomes a little boring: over-didactic and repetitive. Nevertheless, the strength of the first two scenes is just about strong enough to carry this last scene through. The juxtapositions of silence, death and stasis it makes with the rest of the play are also intelligently manipulated.
In this way, Here We Go will not “become one of those things that just happened, like a daffodil or an elephant”. The Old Man worries about the fact of this fate for himself, yet the play goes to great lengths to preserve him as vibrantly and joyously human.
Photo: Keith Pattison
Here We Go is on at the Lyttleton Theatre from 25th November until 19th December 2015, for further information or to book visit here.