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Yesterday I went, along with greengolux and her sister, to the Barbican, that great, horrible, confusing, concrete Doom-level of a complex, to see David Edgar's 'Continental Divide' plays. One, Daughters of the Revolution, sees a grown-up 60s radical liberal confronting and coming to terms with his past and present; the other, Mothers Against, offers a window into a pre-debate boot camp for a Republican gubernatorial candidate. The two plays are intimately linked: Both take place against the backdrop of the same campaign, and characters from one appear in or are mentioned in the other. They're joined at the hip thematically, too, since despite the differences in scope and political focus, both deal with the same issues. At the top level, they're about principles vs. pragmatism, the collision of ideals with reality, although there's a lot more to them than that. Race, education, guns, freedom of speech - between them, the two plays explore a majority of the recurrent flashpoints in American politics.

If you want a blurb, these plays are a theatrical version of The West Wing. This is particularly true of Mothers Against, because of its closer focus; where Daughters of the Revolution sprawls across multiple locations, Mothers Against takes place entirely in one house, and where Daughters... has a cast of dozens, Mothers... has only eight characters. Not uncoincidentally, I found it the more interesting of the two - although I also thought it was the less polished. It's in some ways a shame (although arguably inevitable, and also arguably a necessary decision within the context of the plays) that to create a sympathetic Republican character Edgar has to make him as socially liberal as any Democrat. In addition, the ending of Mothers... feels strangely abrupt. Despite the fact that the two can ostensibly be seen in either order, I think seeing Mothers Against second is helpful, since it can only really be understood - on a literal level, never mind the themes - within the context of Daughters of the Revolution, and I don't think the reverse is true.

Anyway, these are both complex, interesting plays; I bought the text, so that I can go back and absorb all the details I didn't pick up whilst watching. Together, they lay bare the flaws of both America's parties. It is to be debated how optimistic they are, since arguably, whilst both the lead characters transcend their situations, their parties do not. We went on the recommendation of immortalradical; I pass on the recommendation to everyone who didn't read his review, and in particular to tinyjo. If you can see these plays, you should.

Today saw an entirely different (and entirely more trivial) battle: the university boat race, which thanks to those wacky tides was this year run at 6pm on a Sunday. There is no doubt a long and detailed list somewhere describing what a pointless institution this event is, but I like it nonetheless; it's almost my only concession to naked tribe mentality, if you like. I met up with gagravarr, domh, zihuatenejo and others; we shouted ourselves hoarse, watched Oxford lose, then retreated to a rather nice Cuban restaurant on Kensington High Street for dinner. All in all, a good weekend.
naked tribe mentality

Bad. Mental. Images.
A tribe of nekkid Niall's isn't a mental image *anyone* needs thankyouverymuch!
You know, if I get the job in London I'm applying for, I can see myself spending more time in the theatre than I do now.

We just don't do much if any political theatre up here these days, which really sucks.
I've almost never gone to the theatre in the past, and this year already I've gone to two big productions (this, and His Dark Materials). I've enjoyed both, so I think I'm going to try to go to more.
Of course, what I also meant to say was that as it stands I still wind up going to the theatre around ten times a year. And at that I would still go more often were there more interesting things to see.

Though the same would be true even if I were to just move to Glasgow.
I would've liked to see Continental Divide had I not had to go to a wedding. When you described the second one, it is the TWW episode Debate Camp which automatically springs to mind, although probably without the comedy Josh-Donna-missile silos under the white house subplot.

Real point of this comment is to go ner ner, collisions or not, we won! \o/

Yes, 'Debate Camp' is the specific reference point (although obviously, a Republican debate camp).

And we won every other race, dammit. Doesn't that count for anything?
And we won every other race, dammit. Doesn't that count for anything?

Well, no.

Besides, you were being sore losers :p
Besides, you were being sore losers

Yeah, it was entirely our cox's stupid fault.

But I don't care about the boat race anymore; I have a new icon. :-D

Shame it's entirely unreadable at the size the icons are on your style, though. :p
Well, I don't much care if anyone else reads it. The important thing is that I know what it's about. :)
Special case.
Doesn't matter, Captain!
What doesn't matter? What special case?
Niall has ranted at length about the EVILS of animated icons as they condemn your VERY SOUL to HELL. Or some such. Just noting the... change in attitudes.
Oh. Didn't know that.
This is Due South. Like I said: special case.
A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.
      - Dwight David Eisenhower, in his first inaugural address