I was looking for a quick read today, but didn’t bargain on the density and incomprehensibility of Caryl Churchill’s slim play, Drunk Enough to Say I Love You?
Caryl Churchill writes from the heart, or maybe from a gut burning with injustice. She writes of politics and repression, of colonialism and misogynism. In Drunk Enough to Say I Love You she writes not about sexual politics but about politics as sex. So, instead of having a rant about American imperialism, she has written a character called Sam (think Uncle Sam) and one called Jack (Union Jack).
Jack is in love with Sam and Sam is in love with power. Jack will do anything for Sam and follow him anywhere and Sam takes him to some morally reprehensible places. I could almost hear this in my head, but reading it on the page is painful. It’s the sort of play that needs to be heard and seen – it doesn’t come to life on paper.
Here’s an example of the dialogue:
SAM: everyone else agrees a resolution not to use space so
JACK: giving us total
SAM: because with the proliferation of wmd
JACK: so many countries want
SAM: so we combat the threat by
JACK: I do worry about
SAM: because we have two and a half times the next nine countries put together
JACK: thank god
SAM: nuclear weapons stored in seven european
etc… I’ve chosen an arbitrary stopping and starting place as there is no punctuation and all the dialogue is these fragments of sentences, elliptical and nonsensical. But as you read it you start to get the feel for the rhythm and the possibilities of meaning.
Clearly it’s an anti-US and anti-Britain-blindly-following-the-US play. But it is interesting to see the sexualisation of the political relationship. I’d like to see it staged. I couldn’t get into it on the page…
Publisher: Royal Court (2006)
Cast: 2 M