Dumb waiting

The Dumb Waiter at The Print Room

Clive Wood as Ben and Joe Armstrong as Gus
© Nobby Clark

Well, The Dumb Waiter lecture has been delivered twice now at The Print Room, and the first post-show discussion for The Potsdam Quartet was held last week at Jermyn Street Theatre, and David Pinner managed to give a really insightful interview pre-show on the Wednesday for The Potdam Quartet, so everything seems to be humming along.   The Potsdam Quartet is an odd play in that you can enjoy it without knowing a thing about the Potsdam Conference, but then, once you start learning about the conference — about Churchill and all his fears and schemes and Stalin with all his fears and schemes and Truman with his unwillingness to countenance fear, or at least admit to it, then you have this tale of three men who sought for some kind of personal connection because of and despite the stakes involved.  They had every reason to mistrust one another, and the need to like and be liked along with the need to get an agreement seems in the end, post conference, to have made them almost embarrassed about what they agreed.  And all of that reflects back on the play itself, but it’s a really large frame through which to view the play, so you have to forget about it or watch the entire play with this really uneasy feeling about what is going on in the next room among the world leaders, away from the musicians and all their arguing and fun and games.  I think I actually felt a kind a nausea come over me the last time I saw The Potsdam Quartet, just thinking about Churchill, Attlee, Stalin and Truman and all those aides and cigarette smoke and deals and lies. 

But I’ve got the Sunday morning blues because, because, because,

A. I can’t avoid all the fundraising work I really ought to be doing for Jermyn Street Theatre because there isn’t a pile of research to do for the next play as no one seems to want to have to think very much at Christmas about what they are viewing on stage, or everyone is concerned no one will want to think very much.    

B.  I need to be researching the late life of Isaac Newton every hour of the day — learning all I can about every individual he encountered, filling out the details of their lives — all for the Newton Circle Project which might not yet happen.  Three funding applications submitted and no way of knowing if anyone will make a favourable decision for weeks.  Meanwhile I have to plan and study and believe in what does feel a bit like the impossible.  

C.   Or I could push all that aside and work on a talk on the history of Jermyn Street, which is such an exciting topic, and I’ve already done loads of work on it, but yet there is so much more to do, and I haven’t looked at the material for months.  It all begins with the question about whether Henry Jermyn was really the father of Charles II.  I like to think he was.  They were both so tall after all, unlike Charles I.  There is another material for a series of talks, even a series of series.  It’s daunting.

D.  Or I could put together the exercise bike bought two months ago that still sits in a box but really shouldn’t be put together yet because I don’t know what room it should go in.  There really isn’t space for it anywhere in the house and maybe I should return it but then that would require admitting defeat so much better to leave it in the box and wonder.   That’s one question resolved this morning.