Choosing a play to see at the Fringe when you have a mind boggling choice of about 300 comedy acts to see, rather makes for some difficult decision making. I almost feel as though I should do only comedy, but isn't the Fringe exactly that, shows that are edgy and on the fringe of society; arts for all, theatre, art, comedy, mime, burlesque, circus, music, but all just a bit quirky?! Would I be turning Adelaide's, no actually (fact) Australia's largest "arts" festival into that of simply a comedy festival if I didn't attempt to attend shows that were in fact "arts"?! Well in my view yes.
On procuring my copy of the Fringe guide, which could easily be mistaken for a small countries phone book, I propped myself up on the couch, fresh pad of paper and pen handy to peruse the guide from cover to cover. Several hours later, several pages of much hastily scribbled notes around times and dates, which also involved working out when I could fit in toilet and food breaks, oh and some sleep - possibly - between shows; I realised the list had to be whittled, from tree trunk to matchstick. Humm, dilemmas.
Comedy did feature heavily, both local and international, new and old. I love a good side tweaking giggle fest, and I don't mind to admit it, but I knew culture would have to be added. A burlesque show - its tasteful, yes really - then some circus - Cantina, some music - Take me back to Paris (somebody please..... no really, its been too long) and of course some theatre.
Theatre, now that was a hard choice. I chose a play called Low Level Panic, the introductory lines were as follows;
"“Maybe if I was wearing trousers it wouldn’t have happened.” Mary, Jo and Celia are three women. Their gender defines them. In fact, it consumes them. Join them in their bathroom and try and find the answer to the question: "What does it really mean to be beautiful?""
Sounded interesting, am always fascinated, what does it mean to be beautiful? Seems not many people care, as me & my lovely friend Sap discovered, we were to be given a private tour in this theatrical journey.
A story of two women, with a third annoying flat mate (or rather one who just wants to take a bath!), who you could say is a middle ground. She seems happy, gets a bloke and her issues, if she has any, are made redundant by those of Jo and Mary with their opposed ended views & issues.
Mary is at odds with being a woman, after we are taken back in her memory for a recounting of what could have only been a rape, she blames herself for wearing a skirt. She's also feeling like she is trying to look beyond the face to find out the true feelings & emotions of a woman - one on a billboard - to see if there should be some emotional response in being treated like an object. She is hollow inside, an empty shell, removed from herself. She loathes & struggles to simply wear a sexy revealing dress because of what it might mean to others and her quest to find comfort in being herself.
Whilst Jo is busy daydreaming and fantasising about the perfect man, car & body, envisioning what her life should look like, while gloomily staring at her scales declaring war on her "fat" body (something she berates further after an evening out, not eating and failing to lose an ounce). Her issues are with what she is expected to want, without considering getting or giving love, as her fantasies go no where, and she feels she is going no-where too, and not for trying to be something for someone.
It wasn't an amazing play, but it wasn't boring or tiring, or badly done. The acting was superb and it certainly was thought provoking, it made me realise that we've become a world of instant gratification, thus the over kill on comedy (we want it funny and we want it now - fast food). Theatre is to be seen, mulled over, discussed in depth, and if there is a moral - which there usually is - it will be something you will be thinking of hours and weeks later. I think I might have to sort out my Festival of Arts tickets, more theatre, here I come.... its slow food for the mind.