“I NEED PORNOGRAPHY FOR MY SON!” I roared at the hapless sales assistant. He blushed and appeared confused at the sight of this 40-something year old woman, otherwise appearing perfectly respectable, if a little wild about the eyes and hair, screaming about obscene publications in his nice quiet bookshop.
There’s a story behind this… let me explain. My son is currently doing a Production Arts Level 3 Foundation Course at college, where they study various play scripts, discuss them, not only the content, but all aspects, like stage directions, and how they would produce their own performance, as well as involving themselves in the technical requirements, and then at the end of term perform a chosen play.
I have no argument with this syllabus – indeed it seems ideally tailored to suit budding actors, directors, lighting technicians and so on. My issue is with the reading list. And the county and city libraries. And, as a matter of fact, with all the book shops in the city where we live. Oh yes, and whoever chose the reading list (required of course) and the end of term performance script (unobtainable of course.)
“Are you hiding?”
This term, I personally believe that the college have set out to inflict – no, not the students – the parents or other purchasers of the necessary texts with the most obscure, out-of-print, unperformed plays. My son received his reading list on the Induction Day, and then it was the weekend, so I (foolishly) assumed that we would be able to pick up the books on the Saturday. How wrong I was.
The list started fairly innocuously, with texts by playwrights like Harold Pinter, Samuel Beckett… “Oh, no problem, we should be able to pick these up, but I don’t want to be in town all day…”
Six hours later, I am reduced to a sweating, hairy wreck, screaming at sales assistants while my son is standing in a corner, perusing the Classic Literature and pretending he doesn’t know me… I should have anticipated the problem really when I noticed that the end of term performance was ‘Pornography’ Simon Stephens.
I have a bit of mental stumbling block when it comes words that have any vaguely obscene connotations – there is a stop on my bus route involving the word ‘Bottom’… always raises a giggle… childish, I know.
Ultimately, what transpired was that no shop, charity, book, or specialist had a copy of the relevant text. Having been in town approximately five hours longer than I wanted, and having walked probably miles further than I intended, I can hardly be blamed (or excused) for indulging in a bit of a raging hissy fit against my son’s college, the chosen syllabus, reading lists, books, printing presses and Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press. My son at this point, hastily interjected:
“Oh, can’t see it anywhere…”
“Let’s go and see Lizian!” (my son’s lovely crystal lady and her partner.)
We duly arrived at the shop, and at once an aura of peace, calm and serenity descended… My son explained our problem briefly while I simmered and spat in the corner, muttering dire imprecations about authors, titles…
Liz laughed gently while Ian smiled sympathetically:
“Oh, we can put a call out on Facebook, see if anyone has a copy…”
The Universe was gracious to me for the first time that day, as in due course my son’s old drama teacher presented him with a copy of ‘Pornography’. Ian said to me:
“You know, Samantha, I shall expect to see a post about this…”
Here you are ~ and thank you for the title!
“THERE you are!”