Saturday, February 09, 2013

I've just been to Lochgelly.

I have never been before.

Looking at a map in advance, it appeared to be easy to get from the train station to my destination and indeed, the destination claimed to be well signposted. So I boldly struck off without taking a map.

On arrival, black as the night.

One of those spindly train platforms with no fixed abode or dwelling and barely a shelter for comfort. A small spindly set of steps taking the two other alighters and myself down to the dark street.

On arrival in the dark street, suburban houses one way. Suburban houses the other. The two other alighters melted into the dark side streets. No sign post.

Pick a way. Any way.

I went right. Up a low hill. If the worst comes to the worst, I boldly thought, I can always go back to the left.

Up and up. The dark street wound into the distance. A woman and child skittered across the road, some distance in front of me, their voices swallowed up by the night.

A stolid young person emerged from a house ahead. I contemplated verifying my direction. But stolid melted away down a side street.

A tiny newsagents loomed up. I stepped into the sudden shocking bright light and asked with trepidation for my destination. She behind the counter smiled reassuringly: "it's just up ahead. You won't miss it."

Back into the starless night. Stepping stepping ahead. A weird mix of estates of terraced houses and large lush detached villas flanked by urns and 4x4s.

The Lochgelly Centre, familiar only from the website photo, was inconsiderately tucked with its face pointing away from me, therefore delaying the sweet relief that here the location actually was.

I stepped inside. Council carpets, apparently abandoned canteen style cafe, four people conversing behind a front desk. They chatted on for a bit. I shifted my feet with mild impatience.

Eventually, one of them: "can I help you?" I explained my intent. "Oh yes" said another of the four, "it's the only thing that's on here tonight." May I buy a ticket? "We'll give you one. A comp." Now hopelessly disorientated, I explain that I don't need a comp, I'd like to buy one. No, no, they insist, they'll give me one. BUT I WANT TO SHOW MY SUPPORT BY BUYING ONE, I bawl in my head. "It's a good seat" said the lady, right in the middle. As if I would question the credentials of a free ticket. "There are only twenty in the audience" said a man, ruefully. "Only twenty." That'll be the director, then. I wanted to tell him that for our show, our DF experience, we had nine. So twenty was a coach party. A glut. An influx of audience. But then I had the shock thought that the four might not be interested. So I retreated to the canteen to buy a "San Miguel only £2" beer and await the start.

I had undertaken this alarming journey for Kirsty. Kirsty the pretty. Kirsty the patient and incredibly sweet. Kirsty, the sulky dysfunctional goth of #ForgiveUs fame who liked nothing more than a cup of vodka with a dash of coke for light relief.

Here, she was performing with Physical Theatre Scotland. A piece of theatre with puppets and music. "After the wave."

"I don't really know if it's any good" she'd said, as we trundled back from DF on the Carlisle train. "I mean, we think it's good but we're so close to it. I worry it might just be a lot of nonsense."

Well, for all I know about this form of art, I would say it was good. Very good. If not actually excellent.

The last piece of physical theatre I saw was by Derevo. Stunning, sinewy, resoundingly impenetrable.

This was lovely. And maybe partly penetrable.

A big pack of people lived somewhere nice and had a lovely time. Then they started seeing something bad headed towards them, some of them got a bit anxious and then. Horrors. Loads of (brilliant) giant black bird puppets people swept into view and caused a calamity. Many of the sweet happy people were lost. The lovely village was left in shabby ruins.

Part inspired by the tsunami and part by Alzheimers' patients, the remaining piece looked at those left behind and how they clutched onto what they had in an attempt to come to terms with what had happened. Aided by some - well I'm sure they weren't but they looked as if they were made of cling film - very beautiful puppet people.

All accompanied by a man alternately on the piano, electric guitar, drums, likely other instruments I didn't notice.

When it began, in that silly loyal way that you have, I watched only Kirsty, convinced that she outshone her 20 or so companions. When my hopeless bias settled down a bit, it became clear that the rest of them were none to poor themselves. Though I maintain that Kirsty has an astonishing honesty on stage that means that you (me anyway) can't help but believe in her whole-heartedly.

So I am glad that she didn't have any cling-film dead / forgotten person time as I spent most of the cling-filmed section with tears rushing down my cheeks, snurfling like a sentimental fool. And in the twenty TWENTY (though actually I think it was more than that, Mr Director. The advantage of not being in a Secret Venue I guess) strong audience, this was already all too audible. I fear her cling-filmed love would have provoked me to howl.

So Kirsty, Kirsty, so well done.

I ran off like a thief into the night, the second it was done. Full o' dread that the Lochgelly Centre would shut and I'd be stranded on the cold dark streets and shelterless platform for One Cold Hour.

And I'm sorry for that, pretty Kirsty, as I would've liked to have chatted about how brilliant you are and they were and your clever director (Mr Simon Abbott) before I set sail for lands more familiar. But I was afraid of the cold and the wait and I wanted my tea so I ran back down the hill to the station.


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