Friday, 28 February 2014
#CBR6 Book 17: "Nokon kjem til å komme" (Someone is going to come) by Jon Fosse
Rating: 1 star
A couple, he somewhere in middle age, around his fifties (according to the stage directions), she in her thirties arrive at a house by the ocean, in a remote and lonely location. Here they are finally going to be alone, alone together, away from everyone and everything. But she is worried. "Someone is going to come" she laments. Their perfect solitude will be shattered by outsiders, she's convinced of this. He tries to reassure her that no one will come, they will just be alone, together.
Of course, someone does come. Their closest neighbour, the young man in his twenties who sold them the house, is clearly desperate for company, what with living in such a lonely and remote location. The man hides as he approaches, and watches the neighbour's somewhat needy conversation with the woman. He is racked with jealousy. Perhaps she wasn't lamenting earlier? Perhaps she wanted someone to come? Maybe she'd rather talk to the young man than be alone with him in their new home?
As I mentioned in last year's review of The Son, a different Jon Fosse play that I had to read for my course back then, I'm not a fan of Modernist literature. As Fosse is one of the chief Neo-Modernist playwrights writing today, it was never going to be a good fit between us. I like the things I read to have purpose of some kind. I like characters to be complex and develop and my favourite stories are strongly character driven narratives, preferably with a bit of romance, action and adventure thrown in. This play is not very long, and there is little character or plot development to speak of. It's easy to read, because the same damn three lines keep being repeated ad nauseum throughout. "We will be alone", "Alone together, in our love", "Someone is going to come".
There are only the three characters in the entire play, and even the sadsack neighbour only appears in two scenes. It becomes painfully obvious as soon as he shows up that whatever relationship the couple are planning on having alone in by the sea is doomed to failure, if the man is going to fall to pieces with jealousy as soon as the woman so much as looks at another man. Perhaps buying a house in the middle of nowhere wasn't such a good idea?
Among the students of my course, there were also a lot of different interpretations of the tone of the play, and how the neighbour was perceived (which is one of the advantages of such a minimalist play with hardly any stage directions). Myself and several others thought he was a threatening presence, and that he acts aggressively pushy towards the poor woman, who also has to contend with an insanely jealous partner, who falls into a massive sulk and forces her to do any further communication with the neighbour, even when she appears very unwilling to do so. Quite a few felt that she'd do well to get the heck away from said lonely location as soon as possible, lest she be either murdered by her jealous partner, or assaulted by the desperate and lonely neighbour. Of course, if such a thing were to happen, there would actually mean something happened, which it doesn't. There's conversations outside the house, and inside the house, and nothing really seems to happen or come to a head or be resolved in any way.
Having now read two Fosse plays, I desperately hope I won't have to read anymore. I find him tedious in the extreme, a waste of time (although because his plays are so short, at least it's a blessedly short amount of my time being wasted) and I certainly don't see why anyone would want to pay money to see this frustratingly sparse play be acted out on a stage. I clearly have much better things to do than to read Neo-Modernist drama. If you like Beckett and Pinter, than you should absolutely check Fosse out, because he keeps being very favourably compared to them. In my case, this play is definitely going to be on my worst of the year list.
Crossposted on Cannonball Read.