August has been a crazy month!
First of all, I don’t know how I got it into my head to work two jobs. Besides the waitressing thing on Friday and weekend nights, I found myself working as a volunteer press officer for a theatre venue during the massive August Fringe Festival.
For nearly nine days straight, I helped this non-profit company do media-related stuff like booking tickets for reporters to attend the plays, searching the net for reviews, sticking the reviews up on notice boards, and so on.
But best of all, I had no idea we could see the plays for free! In fact, press officers are encouraged to so they know how to sell the show to the media.
The idea of having access to all these plays is amazing to me – simply because I have never seen a play or theatre production in this country before.
Like, never. Each time I went to London, for instance, determined to finally go see one of those fancy West End shows, I’d always be daunted by the ticket prices (£35 for The Lion King, really??).
In Malaysia, we’re not really a theatre-going culture. Most of the younger generation flock to the cinema, malls or the nightclubs for our entertainment. I can count the number of theatre venues in Kuala Lumpur on one hand (two places? Three?). The only time I was exposed to a play, it was to report on high school renditions of the West Side Story, the Flower Drum Song and Disney’s Mulan as a journalist. Some of them were not exactly melodious to the senses.
That’s why I can’t imagine paying even a few pounds here in Edinburgh for a show. It’s like opera, yet another species I’m not exactly exposed to. What if it’s not my cup of tea?
Then I thought, Oh stop bitching! Wait until you see a show you’d die to see, then go! Stop counting the money!
And I know I’d die to see John Barrowman aka Captain Jack Harkness of Torchwood sing. He’s one of the few – very, very few – celebrities I would go gooey for, and last year he actually was scheduled to perform a concert in Edinburgh.
I ended up giving him a miss too.
Arrrrgh. *Faceplant.* Apparently my love of John Barrowman stops at thirty-plus pounds.
So, yeah, free access to plays. Provided there were tickets left.
I found myself swept away in a whole new world:
- Replaying Macbeth – My very first play seemed more like a university lecture than a performance. Actor and researcher Ray Sutton explained how two very different 18th century thespians portrayed the character of Macbeth, and proceeded to reenact the dagger scenes by each actor, then finish with Macbeth’s death scene. Interesting!
- Batman!! Holy Spoof Musical Batstravaganza! – I’m not much for comedy, but this Batman spoof on its opening night had me grinning for most of their performance. I couldn’t believe how much fun it was! I loved the costumes, the one-liners, and all the actors and actresses. Sure, I’m seeing it through rose-tinted glasses, and the story is not exactly deep, but they made an hour-plus fly. This is pure entertainment, and if you can’t see it for what it is – a fun romp – then your soul is dead. (I’m looking at you, two-star reviewers).
- Sanctuary – I’m not used to dramas where every actor communicates their speech through music. Therefore it took me a while to get used to this operatic show about a post-apocalyptic world where a father shuts himself and his daughter up in a shelter, and the daughter struggles to convince him to save another man banging desperately at their door. It had me with its post-apocalyptic setting. Haunting stuff.
- The Dumb Waiter – Two young hitmen waiting in a small room for the orders to take out their next target. Each of them handle the madness of mindless waiting in their own way, and the open ending is definitely powerful. Again, another play that ends without resolution, inviting the audience to make up their own ending, which I don’t mind at all. (My best friend Liz might go barkers, however). The acting is amazing, and it helps that the two actors are very easy on the eyes 😉
- Batman!! Holy Spoof Musical Batstravaganza! – And yes, I am such a geek that I have to watch it again on its last day of performance, wondering if they ironed out their kinks yet. Again I had a great time, even if some things could still be improved, but hey, I didn’t regret listening to the songs again. If only the producers could record the songs and put it up in their website, because that damn Arkham song is still stuck in my head ;P
- Yours, Isabel – An absolutely stunning play of an American woman struggling for independence in the 1940s, a time when good girls did not work and were expected to stay home, wait for their husbands and make babies. The actress, playing with her real life husband, has such amazing control of her voice. I think I am a little in love with her! The dancing and sheer energy were magic. I can’t believe they performed so strongly, especially since the couple came down with a nasty bug and had to cancel their show a few nights! Somehow they pulled it together and performed the last two nights. What a wonderful way to finish my theatre-hopping journey.
And of course, I enjoyed the Batman spoof so much I had to chase down some of the actors and get a picture with them. I wish I could fit them ALL in the frame, even the Victim and Alfred, but hey, at least I got to briefly meet them.
I didn’t tell them, but Joker’s actor had no idea how surreal it felt when I passed him in costume the other day in a backstage corridor. I blinked, did a double take, and experienced an embarrassing SQUEEE Moment.
I can’t help it. I love villains. Am I the only one who looks out for the monsters and evil doers in every movie I’ve ever watched? Every book I’ve ever read? I’m one of those who thinks that if the bad guy is crap, the entire experience is ruined for me.
Hmmm, now that’s something to tackle in another post one day.
Thanks for reading 🙂