I’m sorry, I haven’t a clue

Pictured: Richmond Theatre, Little Green, by Frank Matcham (1899).

At Richmond Theatre this evening, Radio 4 was recording the two editions of the above named show which will bring the series to a close. I joined the (Colin) sell-out audience for the seasonally adjusted quips.

(Chris A Kramer comments in the abstract of his Connecting Phenomenology, Mirror Neurons, Empathy, and Laughter (2012):

“Mirror neurons might provide an embodied basis for passive synthesis and the eventual process of further communalization through empathy, as envisioned by Edmund Husserl. I consider the possibility of a phenomenological and scientific investigation of laughter as a point of connection that might in the future bridge the gap Husserl feared had grown too expansive between the worlds of science and philosophy.”

That’s why I thought it would be a laugh.)

John Morreall writes in “Philosophy of Humor” (2016):

“In his Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious (1905 [1974]), Freud analyzes three laughter situations: der Witz (often translated “jokes” or “joking”), “the comic,” and “humor.” In all three, laughter releases nervous energy that was summoned for a psychological task, but then became superfluous as that task was abandoned. In der Witz, that superfluous energy is energy used to repress feelings; in the comic it is energy used to think, and in humor it is the energy of feeling emotions…

Der Witz includes telling prepared fictional jokes, making spontaneous witty comments, and repartee. In der Witz, Freud says, the psychic energy released is the energy that would have repressed the emotions that are being expressed as the person laughs. (Most summaries of Freud’s theory mistakenly describe laughter as a release of repressed emotions themselves.)”

Tony Aldous wrote in History Today in 2002:

“The late Victorian and Edwardian periods may be considered the golden age of theatre building. Imperial prosperity produced audiences keen to sample thespian delights and able to afford to. It also produced the developers and capital needed to build larger and more elaborate theatres, especially in London, in the rapidly growing regional cities and in booming holiday resorts like Blackpool and Brighton. Of the several hundred theatres built in that period, more than 120 were attributable to a single architect – Frank Matcham (1854-1920). Yet save among theatre buffs, his name seldom evokes more than a flicker of recognition.

Matcham was the most prolific theatre architect of all time, certainly in Britain. He was responsible for the design or complete redesign of more than 120 theatres and ‘variety palaces’ in the thirty-three years from 1879 to 1912, and the reworking of many more. Such buildings as the Coliseum and Hippodrome in London, the Opera Houses of Blackpool and Belfast, and the Bristol Hippodrome, with their combination of functional efficiency and ornate opulence, are to many people the essence of what a theatre should be.

Yet even in his own day Matcham – son of a Devon brewery manager – was considered by gentlemen architects to be not quite comme il faut, too ‘commercial’ to be entirely respectable. His designs were ‘illiterate’, they said  – that is, they failed to conform to the strict rules of architectural composition, though the overall effect was spectacular.”

It certainly was a good evening.