Lot and his God, The Print Room 3 November


Rarely have I been so completely baffled.

This seemed to be The End of the Affair rammed into the Genesis story of Lot and losing its significance as a result.  So we have an angel (Mr Drogheda), Lot and Lot’s wife in a dingy cafe and the angel wants to persuade them to leave–wants to persuade Lot’s wife to leave with him, since he is in love with her.  So we get lots of the kind of dialogue we would expect in such a situation, which doesn’t seem to fit into the Biblical setting very well.  In fact, at one stage the blinded waiter flailing helplessly on the floor seemed be representing the struggles of the text itself.

The authors of the Old Testament may have been dead wrong about the existence of God, the origin of the universe, and a few hundred other things, but they certainly understood what to leave out.

You can’t say that Howard Barker was ignoring the Bible story here, since he did have the angel blind (and strike dumb) the waiters in the cafe.  On the other hand, whatever the issues in Lot’s marriage might have been, they don’t seem to include him offering up his daughters to be raped in place of the angels, since Mrs L. never mentions it.  I think we were supposed to be surprised at the angel Mr Drogheda as a corporeal and carnal being, but on the one hand an angel in the OT is just a messenger and can as far as I know be an ordinary mortal and on the other a spiritual being would hardly need saving from the Sodomites.

But Lot is meant to be merely a sojourner and Abraham’s nephew, not a real Sodomite at all…The more I try to think about this, the more confused I get.

The sleazy cafe set was effective and good, while neither Justin Avoth (Mr Drogheda) nor Vincent Enderby (waiter) fluffed any of their lines.

The thing that really frightens me is that in an ill-advised transliteration Avoth could be the Hebrew word for the Biblical patriarchs, including Lot’s uncle Abraham.

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