I sat in a performance yesterday at West Yorkshire Playhouse, it was part of their Transform festival and I had been looking forward to it. It was called Put Your Sweet Hand in Mine. The promo material was seductive “We invite you to imagine being in love, and all the many different meanings that might have.” It talked about making eye contact with a stranger and I thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice to be reminded what it is like to be in love…”
What a fool I am.
I sat in the performance listening to a description of a lover exploring a body like a landscape, a cold cliff face, an area already marked by another’s flag. And I felt nothing. Maybe a little cold, after all the descriptions of ice.
You see, I couldn’t remember. I couldn’t remember intimacy. I couldn’t remember a single body with any kind of clarity. I couldn’t remember ever having known anyone that well. And I was left feeling numb. Excluded from the performance because I lack a single significant, romantic relationship in the last ten years.
I went to this performance wanting to enjoy a little wistful longing, a half-remembered lust – to feel, something, for another person whether present or not – and all I was left with was a feeling of my own inadequacy. I have not been loved or in love for such a very long time I have genuinely forgotten what it feels like. What it ever felt like.
Instead of picturing the well-trodden landscape of my lover I was left feeling like the only one without a map.
I’m sure that wasn’t the artists’ intention and I’m positive it says more about me than it does about them. I mean, what kind of idiot goes to the theatre looking for intimacy because they can’t get it in the real world?