As I was watching Rosie Kay’s dance piece 5 Soldiers last night I thought lots of things.
Amongst other things I thought about: dancing in boots; stamping; human machinery; jobs that are about being bored most of the time; teams and teasing; theatre vs dance; “nice moves”; the Stan show after the show after the next one; maturing; “will they edit this show much”; Nick who used to be in Portsmouth and is now in Wales; war terror; “what was the name of that very long Soviet documentary I saw half of about troops on the Afghan border?”; dramaturges; the end; Selly Oak hospital; “nice projections”; the powder the throw on wounds to stop you bleed to death; the gestures of ‘powerful’ art. I also thought “I shouldn’t rush to decide how much I like this show”.
The previous night I had very much enjoyed the first half of the Mark Morris show, was ‘full’ by the interval and felt I wasn’t left with a great deal to take home with me. Rosie’s piece I didn’t enjoy as much in the moment, but suspected that some things in it would stick with me rather more.
So it was. This morning on Radio 4’s Today program they broadcast the last of Major Richard Streatfeild’s dispatches from Afghanistan. His company are coming home after their tour of duty. He simply read a list of all those he commanded. Hearing this long list, full of nicknames and abbreviations connected powerfully with those bits of the show that had the soldiers just killing time together, teasing each other, getting on each others nerves and playing around. Those fictional characters connected powerfully with those real names some how giving them more substance.
The the end of list carried the names of the five who had died in the course of the tour. Relating this to Sarah later in the day it all got a bit too much and I was in bits, not so much because of the dead but because of the whole damn thing.