The Ham Funeral

5 May

Several Australians have won the Nobel Prize, though Patrick White is our only recipient in the frivolous category of Literature.

Alfred Nobel reputedly instituted the prize to assuage the guilt complex he developed after inventing a type of explosive.

Ironically, this play is dynamite.

The Ham Funeral puts the fun back into funeral.

This is incredibly rich theatre. Enjoy the first viewing, and then come back for more.

Phillip Rouse’s director’s eye is magical. The cast is wonderful. Lucy Miller and Rob Baird give extraordinary performances, evoking an eternal battle.

That battle is the one between flesh and thought.

Photo by Bob Seary

Photo by Bob Seary

“Thinking never kept anyone alive,” I probably misquote from the play.

Of course, the issue is whether such a battle is real or not. Why do we forever contrast the mental and the physical? I suspect it’s a lazy, unnecessary division. (And I suspect it’s the soul who’s experienced only scant pleasure in the one who would assert there was no pleasure in the other.)

Perhaps the perceived battle is a result of this insight: pleasures of the flesh seem honest. They are honestly self-serving. Great sex is great sex is great sex is…..

Pleasures of the mind often pretend to be more noble. ‘This is the Truth’ we tell ourselves, and don’t stop to question whether such a ‘Truth’ might simply be one that serves our own interests.

And hence arises the healthy, and deeply stupid, distrust of thought.

Veronica Kaye

The Ham Funeral

at New Theatre til 25 May

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