We’re well into the run of Above Me The Wide Blue Sky at The Young Vic, and really happy how it’s going. We’ve been talking a lot about whether or not the piece is nostalgic, which some people have criticised it for being.
What is nostalgia? Accurately speaking, it’s the pain of homecoming. The pain of returning to a place that has changed. In that sense, it’s exactly the right way to describe Above Me…, which is a meditation on change and loss. Last year I moved back to Yorkshire, the landscape of my childhood, to find a decimated, profoundly altered, diminished place, and the experience of the pain of this homecoming has been a big part of the making of the project. Often when people use “nostalgic” they mean “looking at the past through rose tinted spectacles”, and it’s a criticism, as well as an inaccurate use of the word. For us, nostalgia is a symptom of a deep wound that is being inflicted on the places where we live out our lives, right in front of us, in our name. We wanted to say something about that. Nostalgic? Absolutely.
That’s what Above Me The Wide Blue Sky is: a cry against the devastation of what we feel as home, and of all the deep and dark and beautiful and brutal threads of the natural, non-human world that run through our idea of what “home” is.
Don’t come to it wearing those tinted spectacles. Just come to it with an open mind.