Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The end is motherfuckin' nigh bitch

Hey guys, Gavin here. The blog has kinda lagged lately so sorry about that. I've been busy with the Beckett Residency, which was great fun. It was a little like being back in school.....y'know, you had the fuckers that were just there because.....well, they were just there la, then you had the swots, the people who always look like their doing stuff but actually they're not doing anything at all (my category ladies and gents) and then they were the suckers who look very calm and serene but behind closed doors are actually going out of their minds cos they doing everyone else's work for them. Nah, can't tell a lie. Great bunch of people, some really talented individuals.

The Residency went on from the 27th of June till the 8th of July, this past Saturday. Thankfully it was more practical than theory. I sucked at school. Acadamia (is that how you spell it?) was never my thing. I remember back in Form 3, while everyone else's parents were telling their sons and daughters to score 8 A's or else, my dad was telling me and I quote - "Just pass! I'm not asking for much, just pass the bloody thing! Please!" I did pass. Although I must confess I remain somewhat baffled as to how.

Majority of the Residency was spent rehearsing for our final presentation which was a performance of six short Beckett plays, in Pentas 2. The plays were (just in case anyone cares to know)-
1) Act Without Words
2) Catastrophe
3) Come and Go
4) Rough for Theatre
5) Footfalls
6) Nacht und Traume

I opted not to perform in any of them and worked on the lighting instead which was very cool seeing as the last time i helped light anything was way back in college when things were still done manually. Now everything's fucking computerized and shit so you got this big fucking control board in front of you, staring you down and you can pratically hear it whispering to you in a slow, Clint Eastwood, type of voice "Go on punk.....push the wrong button......fuck up the cue, then assume the position and prepare for maximum discomfort.....bitch." But luckily Aedin (our lighting desinger who came with Sarah Jane, who conducted the Residency) was very patient with me, so I didn't have to assume the position too many times. But lemme just say.....the tech crew here at KLpac rock, and I'm not just saying that cos its KLPac, they just rock - plain and simple. A note to anyone out there who's even thinking of directing.....treat your crew good cos these people play just as vital a role in making sure your show comes alive as your cast.

But anyway, back to Endgame. We spent a fair chunk of time in the initial stages of rehearsals to really get into the language. As I think I mentioned in an earlier posting, the words are really the star of the play. It was essential that the actors really relished what they were saying because as an audience member, if you're not familiar with Beckett, it is possible to get a little turned off by it because you might find yourself trying to cling to something..... like a plot, and with Beckett, there seldom is a plot. That's not what his plays are about. Its not about sitting your ass down and saying "Okay. I'm here. I've paid for my ticket. Give me a fuckin' show.", so its up to the actors to draw the audience in with the words and to do that, they need to love what they're saying. So we paid a lot of attention to that. Endgame doesn't have a conventional linear narrative, it doesn't have a clever plot twist at the end, it doesn't have special effects, cursing, spitting, violence, sex, drugs or rock and roll. But yet.....I love it, because what it does do, if you allow it to, is it shoves in your face a very scary picture of who we are and the lives we lead. And it manages to do this without resorting to anything familiar, some visual or verbal thing that makes you go "Yeah, I recognize that, I've done that, blah blah...."

I'll give you an example of what I mean: Hamm is the master and Clov is the servant. Now although the two roles are clearly defined and you know you're watching a master/servant relationship, it can be so easily compared to any employer/employee relationship. One of my favourite bits of dialogue in the play is from a monologue that Clov has where he says

Clov : I say to myself - sometimes, Clov, you must learn to suffer better than that if you want them to weary of punishing you - one day. I say to myself - sometimes, Clov, you must be there better than that if you want them to let you go - one day. But I feel too old, and too far, to form new habits.

That monologue kills me every time I hear it because I've so been there before, and I know so many people who know what that feels like......that feeling of being stuck in a rut, knowing you're in a rut and yet not doing anything about it because you feel too far in the game too switch gears, or too tired or too old to start over. This never-ending fear of the future and all the possibilities of failure that it holds. The whole play is filled with amazing moments like this, where you're basically sitting there in shock because of the mirror that is constantly being held to your face the more you you begin to think about what you're watching. Like I said.....I really love this play.

So yeah, once we spent sufficient time exploring the language, next we had to start exploring the relationships and the rhythms of the dialogue. Beckett's dialogue is all about finding the rhythms. He wrote almost as if he were composing a piece of music. You take it up, then down, stay there for a while, let the audience enjoy it, the bring it up again, then down, half way, then back up again........as you can probably tell from my complex use of musical jargon, I'm an accomplshed musical theorist. I'm currently working on my latest opera tentatively titled "What I'm going to do to Michael Bay if he fucks up the Transformers live action movie"

That's all for now. Its going good so far so knock on wood, it'll be an awesome mind-fuck time come August 2nd. BTW, tickets are now on sale......shameless, I know.



Anonymous jiahui said...

Lighting was really great, Gav! lol - the girls who turned up were disappointed you weren't onstage. I had to console them post-Beckett presentation.

Play's looking great - :P Bought the ticket! Two actually. Hope this is no pressure. Heh.

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