The Theatre of Catastrophe


Many thanks to Rosbif for sending in this story of a terrible, terrible date.

“The early omens were good. I’d seen a picture and profile of the woman; she was attractive, had a wide range of interests, and to cap it all was a singer and songwriter. I’d listened to a couple of her songs, and liked them. She suggested we meet in Hammersmith for a drink, and then go to a play by a playwright she assured me was the cat’s whiskers. His name was Howard Barker. Some of you may already be shaking your heads.

I realised things were not going to go well when I arrived at the venue, and discovered that I wasn’t just meeting her, I was meeting about half a dozen of her friends too. Still, I thought, that’s not such a terrible thing to do, and obviously ensures that she’ll feel safe meeting a new guy. However, she then introduced me to her friends – as another friend! She was telling her friends a bare-faced lie, and, worse, expected me to collude in it. If this happened today I don’t think I’d hesitate to either make my excuses immediately, or to tell her friends the truth. But hey, I was a lonely, horny guy and she was very good looking. So I sort of went along with the charade, and thought maybe she’d lighten up a bit afterwards. Then the curtain went up…

Readers, this play was the most abysmal, meretricious piece of pseudo-intellectual posturing I’ve ever seen, in any medium. The three actors gave it their all. The two men shuffled around inexplicably, switching lights on and off for no reason, limping for no reason. The woman got her kit off. Whole chunks of dialogue were repeated several times. It made less than no sense. When it was over I couldn’t hide my disbelief that I’d been inveigled into sitting through this dreck. I said goodbye and fled. There was no second date.”

Thank you Rosbif! You can read more of his writing at

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