Gregory Motton a blend of Alan Ayckbourn and Attilla the Hun.
Rose Keegan in Gregory Motton's A Message For the Broken Hearted
CLATTERING about the set of
Gregory Motton's new play,
A Message for the Broken
Hearted, are the sort of
curtains that, in hospital
wards, are swiftly whisked
around anything that is
sickening, unsightly, or
dead. Tricky to account for
on any naturalistic level,
these drapes would, it
strikes one as the evening
progresses, be hard to
improve on as a succinct
piece of theatre criticism.
. Paul Taylor Independant
"its obscurity prevents you
from attacking with
confidence the moral
unpleasantness it seems
vaguely to transmit..."
Independent Review of Gregory Motton's Message, Rose Keegan and Morris Perry

    Another Change Of Course
    (an article by Hannah Glickstein
    with additional material by H. Sharp)

    Never content with having found a formula
    Motton, who achieved sudden and early success
    with Ambulance, left it all behind with the
    surreal and unwieldy Downfall, knowingly titled.
    Then took a complete about turn into a kind of
    simple offbeat lyricism with Looking At You(
    revivied) Again, and got royally slated for it,
    though the play was instantly transfered to
    London from Leicester, and was soon a huge hit
    in Paris. Before the British critics or audiences
    had time to catch up, he took another turn, a
    departure into yet another unfamiliar territory.  
    Motton started A Message for the Broken Hearted
    in 1991, a week after finishing Looking At You
    Revived Again, in 1991, the two plays were worlds
    apart, you could hardly guess they were by the
    same writer.It was the deliberate oppostie of his
    fluent and poetic style, "my new technique, for
    this play, was to reject every line that came into
    my head and write another one. It took ages, it
    was the hardest thing I had written"
           It wasn't performed until 1993, when after
    being rejected by Lindsay Posner at the Royal
    Court. He didn't like the personal turn Motton's
    writing had taken. He had once been a champion
    of Motton's work at the Royal Court. This was
    indeed a new departure, couldn't be more
    different from the wild circus atmopshpere of the
    kalaidescopic of Downfall, that Posner had last
    directed. Posner confessed himself embarrassed
    by the nakedness of the emotional squalor of the
    play. "I think Lindsay didn't like the idea of one
    man between two women", says Motton, "he was
    afraid it might be an outburst of vanity on my
    part. Nothing could have been further from the
    truth, as the play itself shows. The man was
    certainly not a hero, he was a failure. It's painful
    to watch".
           Certainly the difficult and disjointed and
    hard to deliver dialogue showed that he had made
    it difficult for himself. This was no easy ride. It
    was about as far as you could get from the
    platitudes of TV dialogue that was around then
    dominating the stage. This wasn't stage language,
    it was language as it was spoken, by remarkable
    and unremarkable people, not middle class,
    intelligent while being crude and neurotic at the
    same time. This was real life thrown onto the
    stage as no-one else was doing it. Motton was in
    this play as ever, a complete outsider, it was still
    as if written by someone with no familiarity with
    the rules and practices of stagecraft. It was
    completely original.  It horrified critics and
    managements alike.  It was taken up by the
    Liverpool Playhouse, by Ramin Gray who was
    directing a season of "new writing" there. After
    two plays at the Royal Court, one at the Riverside
    and one at the Leicester and the Bush, within the
    space of 3 years, Motton hardly counted as new
    writing , but since it was now 2 years since he had
    a play on, he maybe could count as  rediscovered
    writing, or perhaps new again writing, or even
    born again writing.
           The basic set up of A Message For the Broken
    Hearted was certainly a long way from
    Ambulance, since for the first time, Motton's play
    had characters who lived in a house, with even a
    garden. Within a couple of years a Swedish
    production had inexplicably taken these
    characters and put them back into the laundrette
    where they thought they belonged. Indeed Ramin
    Gray when he first read the play, had thought in
    the light of Motton's track record that the play
    must be about a slum. In reality it was only a
    slum of the mind.
    The critical response was as usual one of
    mystified outrage; when it was brought down to
    Battersea Arts Centre, this miserable little
    production was hailed by many who saw it as the
    best thing they had ever seen.
    It was the first of a few very successful and happy
    collaborations in directing between Gregory
    Motton and Ramin Gray.
    The original cast was:
    Kevin McMonagle, Rose Keegan, Samantha
    Holland, Morris Perry.
    Set design by Nigel Prabhavalkar, music by
    Lawrence Muspratt

Buy A Message For The
Broken Hearted from
Oberon Books
Moral unpleasantness, (Paul Taylor,The
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extraordinary Samantha