I was invited to dinner last night, so I listened this morning on the Net to the abridged version of Robin Soans’ Life After Scandal which was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 last night as the Friday play.
Robin does verbatim theatre. That is to say he interviews people and then weaves their precise words into a play. It works surprisingly well. I found this play fascinating and ultimately very moving. Not all the characters, even the “victims”, are sympathetic – I wanted to make “Melissa” eat her dog, and agree with the ever excellent David Leigh on Jonathan Aitken – but it still brought me close to tears. It is very hard not to feel sorry for Lord Montagu.
I hope that you feel that my dialogue helped to give the play some context and direction on the political use of scandal, without which it might itself have been in danger of becoming an exercise in prurience.
I have to say that I am rather annoyed by the silly voice and petulant tone the actor, Adrian Scarborough, gave my character. The words spoken do not necessitate that tone, and I feel rather devalued and made fun of. It did not destroy the effect of my words, but certainly lessens them. I understand that on radio, particularly where actors play multiple parts, voice must be strongly differentiated, but I still felt annoyed. I hope I am not being precious.
I am especially delighted to hear Corin Redgrave acting again after his illness (playing Jonathan Aitken – delicious irony). Corin is an immensely kind man. When I was under the storm of a government smear campaign, he phoned out of the blue (I didn’t know him) and invited me to a curry after his one man show. Imagine my happiness when Vanessa then joined us.
The full version of the play opens on 20 September at the Hampstead Theatre and should be well worth seeing.
I presume the BBC link will disappear after six more days. If anyone has the ability to save this with a permanent link, that would be helpful.