Last week I had the privilege of spending a week in Hull talking to retired people about advice they'd give to generations below them. It was all great. Here are some highlights:
"Take Your Time" (nearly everyone said this)
"Don't Worry About Other People".
The list went on.
I've thought loads that we don't listen to older people in our day to lives enough and we certainly treat them terribly in the Theatre. There is a habbit of younger people dismissing people by age. Thinking that old people don't have a place in the theatre and that, actually, it should be for young people.
Obviously there should be more space for young people. Like OBVIOUSLY. But dismissing older people is stupid for many reasons. Mainly because older people have lived much more than us and have much more considered things to say. Caryl Churchill is still RAGING. Paul Unwin is about to have a play at the Old Vic about what we've lost from Atlees Government. Peter Brook is a tour de force if you ever get the chance to meet him. David Hare, say what you like about him, has an awful lot to say that I don't agree with but it's worth listening to.
Conversly there are loads of shit young theatre makers. Like fucking loads of vacuous intellects talking about nothing very expensively in the hope of getting laid. Why are these gobshites more worthy of a place in the cultural cannon that Churchill? Or Brooke? Or Hare? The answer is they're not. Just because you're young doesn't make you relelvant. Just because you're old doesn't make you irrelevant. There is no correlation between Age and Relevancy. It is about who YOU are. And if you're older you've probably got more to say.
I'd listen to David Hare talk over nearly every 21 year old university graduate. I would how ever let a really curious and compassionate younger person dramaturg his plays though....