day 11: midway, and the feeling is that things have perhaps already peaked

Since I’d made a promise to the entire cast of a play who turned up at the showcase the previous night, I thought I’d better start the day by going to see their play.

And oh boy was it depressing.

It was called ‘The Fallen’ and it was the single most saddening play I think I’ve ever seen – it was about a soldier who returns from war with post-traumatic stress and then kills himself, and how his wife and son cope with it. The music was beautiful and I was a little bit terrified by how a bunch of kids from Warwickshire could perform so maturely and powerfully. There can’t have been a single one of them over twenty, but between them and the musical score they genuinely had me in tears.

Having said that, even though I started crying during the play, when it came to the physical movement-y parts near the end, the treatment was so heavy-handed that I actually stopped crying and just got annoyed that it hadn’t been more subtle. Perhaps I just don’t like dance. But there was no need to have more than two or three mimes of an action that used to be done with two people and now had someone missing. It’s a common problem with amateur and youth productions, that directors feel everyone has to have enough to do, and rather than giving them actually different things to do they have an extended section where everyone does a variation on one thing, which can get dull. Ah, well. It was a good production all the same, and they clearly had quality performers right through the cast.

Timmy Manners arrived today, to run the showcase with me for the rest of the festival; I was relieved to see him because I was starting to get a little jaded. I might just have been tired and hungover, of course, but the comedy that seemed to be coming so easily last week seems to be getting tiring now.

It didn’t really help that the showcase was the hardest work so far. It went okay, but it didn’t really take off, and even David Whitney struggled a little bit. I think he’s tired too.

To be honest, I think everyone’s tired. It’s a good thing that the Flashback were having a night off; the show wouldn’t have been great. I kept myself awake after the showcase with a trip to ‘Hunt for a Universal Genius’ (which James Sherwood was particularly funny in), and a party at the Caves.

But to be honest, it would have been better to just go to sleep…

Showcase: audience – small; performance 5

Overall: LOSE

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