Sitting down to write this week’s entry, I can’t help but feel that I didn’t really do much this week. Burying my face into books for my first exam took up most of my spare time. However, by about Thursday my brain decided to call it a week. I’ve never experienced study fatigue before, but I guess that’s what hit me. Now I’m sitting here with a small plate of almonds and a Miller genuine draft committed to getting something written this week.
Trying to balance a full-time working week and studying for exams hasn’t been easy. When you subtract eight waking hours from a day, not including preparation and travel time, you’re not left with a hell of a lot. Especially when the average time you’re awake at is 5:30am. Most nights I pushed myself beyond midnight studying, getting 4 hours sleep (5 hours at the most) and heading off to work.
But that lack of sleep can lead to some weird things popping into my head. One day at work this week, after what can only be referred to now as Chairgate, in which another supervisor and I were swapping post-it notes making all manner of reference to chairs, I very may well have proved my point. I present to you all now, the words to Chair (to be sung to the tune of Hair).
Don’t ask me why
I’m just a chairy guy
I’m chairy noon and night
Hell, what a plight
I’m chairing high and low
Don’t sit idly by
Or too low
It’s not for your back or head
Like the freight of dread
Gimme lots of chair
Long, dutiful chair
Folding, milking, captain’s
Sit me down on there, chair
Upholstered, swivel or windsor
High baby, throne mama
Every chair daddy daddy
Chair, chair, chair, chair, chair, chair, chair…
Look for it on a non-Broadway, non-stage performance, shopping mall busker-esque performance by yours truly when everything goes to shit for me. Please give me a dollar if it ever reaches that point, because I’m almost certain I’ll have eaten cat food for a whole week before performing that in public.
One night, however, some friends and I decided to check out one of my co-worker’s plays that was part of the Short + Sweet festival. For those of you that don’t know, Short + Sweet is a short play competition. Writers submit 10-minute plays, judges say ‘yeh’ or ‘eh’ and then directors and actors get involved. The program I sat through was Program One.
What’s that? Short reviews that are shorter based on how much I liked them? I concur!
An unashamedly racist play. The director decided to crank Indian stereotypes up to 11 and this is somehow meant to equal endearing and funny. I say… No. As if this country has done enough damage on its own to relations with India. A brother and sister, apparently responsible for the Commonwealth Games bridge collapse that (depending on which reports you read) injured somewhere between 19 and 23 people, feature as the protagonists that are trying to find other jobs after their failure. They wind up in a hotel, employed as cleaners and after being found out for their previous gaffe, gain employment offering IT support operating under pseudonyms.
I’ve never been a fan of star ratings, so I’ll just say that I didn’t enjoy this play.
Poems a Dead Boy Wrote
An attempt at emotionally blackmailing an audience. A widow reads her dead partner’s writings that she’d never been allowed to read until his passing. It didn’t quite hit as hard as it should have, but the writing was still pretty decent. An improvement over the first play.
OK. I fucking hated this play. I’m not going to colour it any other way, nor am I going to try and justify my loathing. Let me paint you a picture – a bearded, fully-naked man acting like a gorilla is locked in a cage. In front of him, a couple’s relationship is playing out its death throes. The male in this relationship has grown weary of his partner’s vivacious libido (Seriously? That’s a problem? I wish that was a problem for me) and wants to be loved and cuddled. The aforementioned death throes involve the actors rolling around locked in an embrace, which arouses the gorilla to no end. After faux copulation, the male confesses his love and is shot down. They part, and the woman takes her top off (At this point, my male-hood should have kicked in and I ignore everything else) and engages in faux finger-banging herself to climax in front of the gorilla, who goes bananas.
Great. The protagonist’s primal urges are locked in a cage. Colour me unimpressed. Clever allegory shouldn’t need to smack you over the head with a 2×4 to communicate its point. I get it. Now make a point or get off the stage, please. They didn’t make a point. And I don’t even find male nudity confronting. The gorilla could have been hanging upside down from the roof of his cage thrusting his genitalia in my direction and it would have been more entertaining than the tripe I witnessed.
Remember when I mentioned how I don’t care for star ratings? My care for star ratings is higher than it is for this play, so it’s only fair that I give this play a star rating. 1/5 stars. (Half a star for each boob)
Rules is Rules
Now, we’re talking. Good acting, snappy writing, interesting premise. British gangster is taking an initiate through his first job. My only criticism of this play was that the initiate dropped out of accent one too many times. Outside of that, everything about this play worked. I can’t really say much more without giving the key parts of the play away, which is a shame.
A superhero is about to put an end to his charmed life and is confronted of a rooftop by a regular pleb wanting to do the same. The two engage is a mildy-comical (no pun intended) philosophical discourse about value and the perceived worth of individual merit. Not bad, overall.
At this point, the interval kicked in.
Great. Hilarious. Sci-fi. Solitude. Sexbots. Really good stuff.
The Kind of Man
Disclaimer: This is the play that my co-worker wrote. Objectively, it was sharply written and convincingly acted and that’s all it really needed to be. Bravo!
This play appealed to the ‘writer’ in me. Quite clever. A writer is confronted by the subject of his most recent book about using his stories for his own gain and chaos ensues.
Probably the most sexually subversive of the plays on display. Not bad overall. Though I’m not really sure why the protagonist put herself in the situation she ended up in, as she was cautious from the outset. The woman in black, though? Stun. Ing.
Quite a depressing play. Sadface. But it worked in its favour.
Another quite depressing play. Reminded me of a situation I found myself in many years ago.
Overall? The second sextet outperformed the first quintet. I’m no frequent theatregoer or anything, but I enjoyed seeing what people are putting out there. My negative comments aside, a lot of work went into all these plays and Melbourne’s artistic community deserves to be supported so that it can survive.
More to come over the next couple of days! Back to studying for me.