Saturday, January 19, 2008

Thatcher If You Can: When She Stops No One Knows

Ever wonder what the death of Margaret Thatcher would be like? We know some of our roster owners think about it regularly. Well, so has one playwright.

Producer June Abbott said: 'We were worried about the title at first, but this work puts Baroness Thatcher's death on a par with events such as the death of Kennedy or of Princess Diana. She provokes such emotion. Ever since I have told friends we are doing this play, I have had to sit for hours listening to the views of people who are still either for or against her.' Abbott said Green's play is funny and looks at the way Thatcher polarised opinion. 'It is about how people are affected by her death in different ways. None of them talk about whether they were for or against her.'

Green says his work is not overtly political. Instead, he says, it is a response to the strongly worded public promises to celebrate Thatcher's eventual death that have been made in the past by left-wing figures such as the actor Ricky Tomlinson or the singer-songwriter Elvis Costello. 'It will be interesting, when she does die, to see what society makes of it,' he said. 'But this play is not an essay or a polemic. I would not even characterise it as anti-Thatcher.'
While we can't tell the living Thatcher what life would have been like had she never been born, one man has attempted to predict what life would be like after her death. Perhaps this minor glimpse into the future will give the Thatcher a newfound perspective on life this season. And depending on reviews of the performance, this may wind up keeping her around for some time longer than she had planned to stay.

[Guardian Unlimited]

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