Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Trying…and Failing

My Out The Box Festival got off to the worst start this evening when I was trapped in the Intimate Theatre courtyard for the first performance of Trying. This experience was definitely in my top five of worst pieces of theatre ever, and I am so sorry about the fact that my talented friend and colleague Nicole Franco is in it. (I feel like that about Francis Chouler too, from whom I have come to expect such good things).

In fact, the last time I hated a show as much was two Out The Box festivals ago, and I had that same hideous feeling tonight, of being desperate to escape and totally unable to because the show was in the courtyard where the entrance was on stage.

Rachel Wood (the director) pulled twelve performers onto stage, as well as assembling a production team for video, sound and lights. Which is the reason why there was a technical hitch or three that meant that the show started 15 minutes late; not great at a festival where some people were booked for another show that they couldn’t make.

Once it got started though, I was in theatre hell. Endless, meaningless moments, little or no characters or sense entering and exiting. Arbitrary dancing. Horrible improvised (I assume) relationship scenes. Inappropriate jokes. Ages and ages to set up more arbitrary moments. Dreary movement pieces that went on forever. Cringeworthy, under rehearsed, directionless, repetitive, unconvincing and plain bad. This is ‘experimental’ theatre of the most unsatisfying. And I kept on thinking of the absolute waste; of resources, of talent, of time, of energy, of everything really. There was this one moment quite near the beginning where the one Israeli actress is sort of lying on the tarred floor and another actor is kind of running up and down, backwards and forwards alongside her. I overheard her whisper to him, “Ok, ok, it’s enough!” and he stopped. I so wished I could have said that and the show would have gone away.

The second funniest part of the show was when John Caviggia arrived very late, entered the stage, made his excuses and sat down, all the while complaining that he had heard there was a technical hitch and couldn’t believe the show had started without him. The funniest part of the play was when John Cavggia’s cell phone rang. And he answered it, announced to his friend Rita that he was in a show, commiserated with her about her cat’s gout and then explained that it was a new phone and he didn’t know how it worked. The person sitting next to me thought he was part of the show. He wasn’t.

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12 Comments

  1. Francis

    Actually, he is ;).

  2. megan

    Actually he is what? You mean John being part of the show?

  3. megan

    Omigod he was! Double fail!

  4. Clea

    Hi Megan

    I thought the show was let down by the slowness of transitions, which will probably get better over time.

    I accept your perspective of the show, but would like to add that everyone has their own tastes, and so it’s certainly not a waste of talent and time if some other people enjoyed it, which judging by the audience response I heard, some did, including an Austrian, as well as myself.

    I always try think when I see what i think is “the worst movie ever” that you gotta give people credit for trying something (especially when they have no budget) because i want to make films one day too. Sometimes its hard to think that way if you don’t like something, but I know the integrity of the people involved means that this piece is merely on it’s way to improving all the time.

    I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy it. We had a great evening!

  5. megan

    Clea, I totally agree that there is no accounting for taste, which is why this is megan’s head, and I don’t think I need to defend everything by repeating that it’s only my opinion. Of course it is; we take that for granted. And I always approach all theatre with an open mind, being a theatre maker myself. If I go and see a production (regardless of budget) my criteria on whether it works is whether or not I was engaged.

  6. Hi Megan –

    I appreciate your feedback. The night you came was our opening and the run did seem to be more like a final dress rehearsal. I totally agree that there was dead space between cues. Our tech team did try hard, and to their credit, they’d never had a full run through with all actors and all the cues in the space. That’s the unfortunate downside to festival theatre. Though I’m sure you know that as well.

    And I’m deeply sorry that our late start meant you couldn’t make another show! Sadly, the power available at the space cut out on us 3 times, so we scrambled to work around that and get started asap!

    As for the rest, yes, there’s no accounting for taste and your opinion is valid for your experience. I get it. That’s art!

    I am curious however about why you italicized “twelve” when referencing the number of performers. Is there something about the number of performers that strikes you?

    Anyway, hope you enjoy the other shows at the festival!
    -Rachel Wood

  7. megan

    Hi Rachel, I said ‘twelve’ because it is a lot. It’s actually 13 including John, which is more!

  8. Heya Megan-

    This is so interesting! ….I don’t understand why twelve is a lot. A lot for what…?

  9. Jana

    I myself totally disagree with you Megan.

    I don’t feel it was a absolute waste; of resources, of talent, of time, of energy, of everything really.

    I think it’s new and Out of the Box. It’s a creative piece created by what I think of maybe as an artist. And we don’t all under stand all types of art so we enjoy it less or not at all.
    I heard plenty of people saying they enjoyed it! And yes it had a late start but this happens and if you take in mind the fact that these people probably had to wait for all the other shows to finish before they could start with their technical set up, I think it wasn’t to badly done.
    I respect this is your opinion but sometimes one should rather just not say what you have in mind if you feel you want to say so many bad things!

    Oh and John being part of the show brilliantly funny!!

  10. megan

    Oh dear, Jana, how could you possibly respect my opinion if I don’t share what it is? If I think something is horrible I say so. I am completely open to the possibility that other people feel differently, and that there were people who enjoyed the show. I didn’t. That is why I wrote “so many bad things”. I am glad there are those of you who enjoyed it and feel strongly enough about it to say so, but, at the risk of repeating myself, this is my space, to say what I feel.

  11. Grant

    Megan, I couldn’t agree with you more. This was the worst piece of theatre I’ve ever seen in my life. I only went because a friend was in it and she begged me for my moral support.

    Something that I can’t believe nobody was aware of was that if you didn’t sit in the front row of the raised (but not raked) seating, you didn’t see a single thing, but the back of the heads of the people in front of you(which, as it turned out, was not such a bad thing).

  12. megan

    You know what Grant? I sat in the front, hellish row.

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