Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Adventures in Edinburgh: Lula del Ray, Red Bastard, The Kelpies

Manual Cinema - Lula del Ray

I can't explain to you how HAPPY seeing three overhead projectors on stage makes me! I've seen a couple of shows using overhead projectors (and created one for my thesis way way back) but this was just stunning. Manual Cinema is a group out of Chicago, which means I can drive 6 hours to see their work, and I just might do that now that I know it exists. Lula del Ray reminded me of Kid Koala's Nufonia Must Fall - very similar in how the actual *making* of the performance is a part of the performance itself, all musicians and technicians onstage, and the audience can watch the creation of the "movie" on the overhead projectors, just in case they forget they aren't watching a film. Which, if you just watch the screen, you can do. It's beautiful, seamless, and stunning.

Austin people, they are coming to the Long Center, you need to see them.

Preshow, with overhead projectors ready!

Red Bastard - Lie With Me

So, it's been a day since I saw Red Bastard's show at the Fringe and I have some complicated thoughts.

First, this was an odd show for me. As a rule I tend to stay away from comedy and also from clowning, but everyone in the Transmission company recommended this highly, so I bought a ticket. And, it was funny, as long as you were ok with having someone REALLY mess with the audience, in a pick people out and put them on the spot in front of 200 people whether they liked it or not kind of way. If you don't want to be put on the spot, don't sit in the first few rows of his show. Also, because the subject matter...eventually...became "relationships," and my views on relationships don't line up with "normal" views (Travis's words) a lot of what was funny to some was just bewildering to me. As in - people really think that? Wow.

My main issue was with language that he used, confusing its meanings. The show is called Lie With Me, and moves from showing the audience how they are all liars to a discussion about love and the so-called rules of love. The two are linked, in this discussion, because he talks about cheating and gets a few people to admit to cheating. He then asks who knows the definition of "compersion," and four people, including me, raise their hands. This ultimately turns into a story about his own journey to "rewrite the rules of love." But compersion as I understand it has nothing to do with lies. And linking the two together gives the wrong impression to those 196 who didn't raise their hands. Compersion - the feeling of joy at someone else's joy, usually linked with polyamory - requires openness and trust and honesty and NOT cheating. It sounded as though he was endorsing lying to one's partner because he was rewriting his own ethics because love.

My second issue was the last bit, where he waits for someone to come up onstage and be his partner, insinuating that it could be for a minute or for....however long. He is open to...? Yeah. And this is probably just MY issue. Or my issueS. Because first, are you serious about this? That seems, at the Edinburgh Fringe, like a plausible way to end your show. And second - you're going to have this courtship in front of 200 people?? Eventually one guy did stand up and we watched as it was uncomfortable and cringe-inducing and awkward and oh god make it stop. I couldn't watch, because I can't watch those things without FEELING how I would feel the entire time, which is that there are 200 people watching me, and I don't mind being in the performance but I mind the audience. So if you're NOT serious, then this whole ending is about feigning that seriousness, which is embarrassing to the person who got up onstage, and that's not ok for me.

So, yes, funny show, but...I don't know.
Also, thank you JaneZero, wherever you are, for teaching me about compersion, 16 years ago.

Trip to the Kelpies

My last day in Scotland called for something special, so I got up early and a couple of us took a train to Falkirk ("those men...who bled the ground red at Falkirk..." sorry that is constantly in my head when I hear "Falkirk!"). There's a public art installation there called The Kelpies, by artist Andy Scott, and honestly more than Arthur's Seat, more than Edinburgh Castle, I've wanted to see this. Going first thing in the morning meant that there were very few people, and it was sunny. We beat the rain, had a great time, got out of the city for a couple of hours and took beautiful photos.

Just stunning

The Kelpies, as we approached

That is me, for scale

Tonight, we head out as a company to a couple of pubs and tomorrow I head to the airport to fly home. I'm really ready to go home and see Travis and the kitties. I've loved Edinburgh and had the best time here at the Fringe but I'm so happy to be seeing them tomorrow.
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