Off to the theatre last night to see the first performance of Cobbo by Theatre Alibi.
We chortled and laughed and giggled and snorted and gasped. The full house audience wriggled with pleasure at this short, simple, effective, fantastical piece. It was particularly warming seeing a play based in the place we were in, with references to the Devon County Library, the Quay, the river and the draining of the waters from the moor down to the city.
The story of love between a woman and a swan inevitably played on mythical ties to Leda and the Swan, the young woman in the play dreaming that her mother had hatched her from an enormous egg, but although we had to firmly suspend our disbelief, the play was rooted in the here and now, not some ancient past. The supermarket checkout girl, psychoanalysing every purchase as she pushed it through the bar code reader; the prevalence and loneliness of singledom. What is timeless is the portrait of self hatred and frustration that turns into mindless violence towards the vulnerable, and the determined lack of self-knowledge and understanding beyond one's own immediate realm that ultimately makes people unlovable.
The abiding big-grin image that I have taken away from the piece is that of the swan wrapped in big women's underpants, stuffed with panty liners (with wings, of course) to deal with his guacamole-like involuntary excretions. That and the cheese biscuit swans and chocolate eggs nestled in white feathers we were served along with the booze at the end of the play (first night pleasures - oh joy).
And as I drove away from Exeter, full of sadness at unfulfilled love, there at the side of the road was a couple deep in discussion, when the woman put her arms across her face in utter despair. Oh god.