Tuesday, June 26, 2007

One Hit and Three MTCs


Educating Rita, HIT Productions, the Athenaeum Theatre
Listen to that rain. The gentle wash of it somewhere outside this grand old theatre. I wonder if the actors are annoyed that this ex-diegetic soundtrack has been added to their show. I think it's grand.

Lisa Chappell looks like she might be a bit concerned, but she probably endured worse with that McLeod's Daughters bizzo. Mud, probably. I bet she stepped in horse shit at least once while the cameras were rolling.
She's not doing such a bad job of it, really.
This is a bit of romantic view of academia, isn't it? Maybe that's what it was like, somewhere, somewhen. Working class girl who discovers the value of higher education, bettering oneself, great culture - but she finally understands that what really matters is the attempt to better oneself and one's lot.

During interval, N___ pointed out how many model-types were here tonight. It's true. Once you notice it, it seems very strange. When she was in the bathroom she overheard one mentioning something about a class, and surmised that its a group here as part of their course. Could some course convenor have ordered his glamorous charges to come to the show tonight? Why? To instill some message about seeing beyond their limited horizons and the true worth of self-improvement? Or maybe just to suggest that teachers can be cool and funny and maybe worthy of an admittedly platonic crush?

I just lectured for two years and tutored for many more, and spent the last five or six finishing up my own higher degree, and I swear this whole deal doesn't ring true. This play has its own agenda.

The rain, however, is awesome.

Ying Tong: A Walk with the Goons, Melbourne Theatre Company, Playhouse Theatre, the Arts Centre

If I was 20 or 30 years older, I'd probably be going off now. This woman next to me is having a fit. She's rocking side to side; she's actually clutching those sides in hysterical laughter.

I suppose it is pretty funny. Spike Milligan, what a character. Deeply depressed, confined in a mental asylum as a result, yet that very depression allowed him to create some of the most original comedy of his generation. Depressed clowns: a window to the human soul, but we can also laugh at them. Like monkeys and old people, I suppose.

This woman I'm sitting next to is seriously going to blow a gasket.

I guess the MTC isn't so bad. This production has certainly pulled out all the bells and whistles design-wise, and the acting is really impressive (Spike, mostly). I never would have expected to enjoy a nostalgic riff on a comic group I really know nothing about. But at least I'm not pondering the state of my dental array.

Enlightenment, Melbourne Theatre Company, Fairfax Theatre, the Arts Centre

That ridge above my front teeth - was it always there? Perhaps my gums are receding. Am I getting old? Is my tongue really an accurate way of assessing the state of my teeth/gums and therefore drawing conclusions about a potentially deteriorating physical state?

Hmmm. I'm seeing Educating Rita next week. That's a play play. A realist narrative, classical structure, all that. If tonight is anything to go by, it's going to be a slog with few redeeming features. And that Goons show this weekend - how am I going to get through that? I'm 31, the Goons mean nothing to me.

It's an early show on a Monday evening, so I suppose I shouldn't be surprised at the demographic in attendance. Not that I expect model-types at the theatre anyway - ha! the very thought. But do the older folk here tonight actually relate to the dull drama playing out in front of us?

Did someone really just say the line "Oh! Joyce, I wasn't expecting you!" I don't think there could ever be an excuse for a line like that.

Chaos theory is pretty inneresting. The program tonight makes a fair deal of it. I wonder why this show is unutterably predictable, then? Is somebody being ironic? Is it that much to ask a play that name drops chaos to actually offer something resembling a surprise at some point during proceedings? And why am I supposed to care for this middle-aged, well-off couple with a half-kilo of plums in their mouths?

Christ, this show is why I stopped coming to Melbourne Theatre Company shows.

The Pillowman, Melbourne Theatre Company, CUB Malthouse

Why did I stop coming to Melbourne Theatre Company shows?

A dwarf is crucified, a developmentally challenged dude is smothered with a pillow, a kid is tortured with a drill, and Joel Edgerton gets shot in the head. And for years, I thought the MTC were all about plodding dramas centred on middle-aged, well-off couples with plums in their mouths.

Sure, this production has its flaws, but I haven't been bored at any point. I'd hope that's the absolute minimum baseline for any play.

It's getting cold, though, and we're heading into Winter. I hope to God it doesn't rain. I can normally feel it in my teeth, though.

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