Monday, September 19, 2005

Ravenhill on American culture

Guild member Mark Ravenhill found himself consuming almost exclusively American culture. Could he survive a month without it?
As the first Monday of the diet approached, I wrestled with my conscience. Wasn't this just a little-Englander gesture against "cultural imperialism" in our shiny new global world? Then I remembered writing my play Some Explicit Polaroids. In it there are several scenes set on an Aids ward: the Russian toyboy Victor sees his lover Tim die. These scenes were almost autobiographical for me. I wanted to write honestly from my own life. Instead, the Aids plays of Tony Kushner and Larry Kramer, and the films Philadelphia and Longtime Companion, came rushing towards me. I found my characters talking in mid-Atlantic accents; suddenly there were Hugs and Learning and Meryl Streep sitting on the bed. I was angry, furious with America for colonising my experience of Aids. I had to rip up draft after draft of those scenes until I could get something that was free of the American shadow.
More in The Guardian.

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