Thursday, January 8, 2009

I want more British coal miners on stage

I like the way Natasha Tripney, who blogs at Interval Drinks, writes about her favorite theatre moments of 2008 for The Guardian. She calls them "a non-linear clutter of the images that have left an impression on me in this 12-month window." What a terrific description!

I also decided to write about some of my favorite moments spent in the theatre in 2008, rather than assemble a list of my favorite shows. And this year, we have one in common - Black Watch - although she chooses a different moment from the play to highlight than I did. (But that's understandable because there are so many great ones.)

But what really caught my eye was a moment she mentions from another play that I'd love to see if it comes to New York: The Pitmen Painters, by Lee Hall, who wrote Billy Elliot. (It also made New Yorker theatre critic John Lahr's list of the top ten plays of 2008.)

The play is currently running at London's National Theatre, and here's a description from the Web site:

"In 1934, a group of Ashington miners hired a professor to teach an art appreciation evening class. Rapidly abandoning theory in favour of practice, the pitmen began to paint."

It sounds really interesting. I'm not sure how it would do with American audiences and I don't know if there are any plans for a Broadway transfer. But I'm hoping that Billy Elliot will whet the appetites of theatergoers for some more drama involving British coal miners, this time of the non-singing and non-dancing variety.


Aaron Riccio said...

What about Irish coal miners? There was that musical "The Hired Man" that visited 59E59 as part of "Brits Off Broadway 2008"; parts of that were quite enjoyable.

Esther said...

Wow, I never heard of that one! And "The Corn is Green," with Kate Burton, about Welsh coal miners, is playing this month at the Huntington Theatre in Boston.