Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I spent last night in my typical post-show cleaning frenzy. Although frenzy is possibly inaccurate as the whole ‘frenzy’ lasted perhaps 45 minutes. But I did get a wash done and the bathroom cleaned. And before that, a little first outdoor run of the season. I need to try and sustain this effort.

Anyway, Saturday night yielded up “In Room 504” by Jimmie Chinn, “Glamorgan” by Don Nigro and “The Happy Journey to Camden and Trenton” by Thornton Wilder.

“Room 504” was sweet. The sorry tale of a girl who married because she got pregnant but was torn between him and another. Except it was 1942 so she had no choice. The main girl was very good. It was hard to tell whether the main boy was terribly good or terribly nervous. There was an older version of the same woman who sat alongside the proscenium arch reminiscing. And the grumpy landlady. It was standard SCDA fare. Nice. A little poignant which was less standard SCDA fare. And fairly well done but nothin’ amazing.

Second on was one of the most extraordinary plays I’ve ever seen. “Glamorgan” was set varyingly in a gothic castle, a ship, The Bunch of Grapes Inn (slash brothel) in Boston, Massachusetts and a house in Northampton, all between 1736 and 1780. It began with a beautiful backlit tableau featuring the five cast silhouetted against the white backcloth. But it rapidly went downhill.

One of the central protagonists was an ageing man with quite a paunch dressed like the hunchback of Notredame from the Disney film in strange brown pajamas. And rubber sandals. He wailed to the sky to rue his misery and hurled himself to the ground – and so the play went. Also featured were three girls who all wore ballet frocks (and bare feet). And a school teacher who was dressed in less of a pantomime fashion but still featured the rubber sandals.

The hunchback who wasn’t had had a string of miserable relationships that ended in death, whether by design or unfortunate accident. This was kind of the point of it all. He then found love with his cleaner and she had a miserable girl child before carelessly dying herself. The girl child grew up alone and unloved and untouched it seemed – although there was a sinister suggestion of child abuse later. As she became teenaged you may presume, there was a terrible accident and the hunchback’s castle burnt down and he was dead – not before he’d flung his arms in the air many a time and wailed (with dramatic red lights behind him) “I’m burning I’m burning”.

The girl was forced to seek refuge with a local school teacher who handily loved her. Who persuaded her to take a ship somewhere to escape their misery. She refused to let him touch her as she was unused still to human touch but they set sail. On arrival, it looked like she might settle but then she paniced and went to work in a brothel, presumably overcoming her anxiety about the touches. I think it was this location which led her to declaim my favourite line of the play: “copulation is forgetting”. Must remember that.

A little before this, she’d managed to throw a succubus into conversation. The vocabulary was impressive. If only it hadn’t been so ridiculous.

Anyway, eventually the school teacher came to save her. She went home, lived happily, succumbing to the touches eventually and lo, a child was born. To whom, for some reason, by way of a bedtime story, she decided to recount this tale.

It was an amazing piece. Incredibly sincerely delivered. Hats off especially to the skinny little girl who as main protagonist threw her arms around and shouted about succubi (?) with the best of them. I don’t quite know what the point of the whole piece was. But I have not laughed silently (I hope) so much since I saw Ernie in "The Bear". Glorious stuff.

The third one was an incredible anti-climax. How couldn’t it be? A dull tale of a family going on a car journey. Slice of life stuff. Nicely done and costumes looked good but basically dull.

Then we had the public adjudication. He liked the Room, was gentle with Glamorgan and thought the teenage girl in the car journey was wonderful. The raffle saw me lurking backstage waiting sick-hearted for the result and saw Russell winning a giant bottle of Perry.

The results and we had Tryst, Room 504 from Kirkcaldy ADS and in third place, Innisfree. A surprising result as Leitheatre deserved the final more than Kirkcaldy I would say. Not more than us, mind. But what can you do..?! Tryst appeared to get most of the other cups. Of course I am pleased for them. Pleased I say.


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