Iâ€™ve wanted to see this guy for ages now, having heard so much about him, so last night Big Friendly and I went off to the Kalk Bay Theatre to check the Ha!Man out. It was one of those times when you realise that all people, even your most loved ones, occupy different planets. When the lights came on at interval, I broke my rapture and turned to Big Friendly. His look was pure acid. â€œWhat total shit!â€ he said.
I had to take a moment to deal with the shock! I had sat, listening to the Ha!Man improvise vocally, make music, dance to images of grape vines and girl, play his instruments and tap computers, and I had gone into an almost trance! All the while Big Friendly had sat seething beside me. Different strokes. Ovias. I let Big Friendly leave and I scored a lift home with my china, who loves the Ha!Man so much, she had been to the show three nights in a row.
The Ha!Man is very, very interesting indeed. His performance is mostly improvised, and you literally see him looking around at times for inspiration, the what of his next bit. Of course improvisation is exactly what I am passionate about, so it was very exciting to watch that process. I think that what is quite different about music/sound improv is that as an audience member you are much more passive. Which totally worked for me last night; I just sat back and tranced out. But I can see where the potential is for â€˜some peopleâ€™ bf bf, to find it all a bit self-indulgent.
One of the things that was amazing about this experience was how the Ha!Man flies solo. Improv has always been such collaborative work for me; it has always involved more than one person, even if it is just having a stronger, more interactive relationship with the audience. The Ha!Manâ€™s final moment last night was using the audienceâ€™s clapping ovation and playing with, and that was really very cool. Up until then it had been much more just watching him do the stuff, which I found both mesmerising and quite inspiring.
A weird little side note: Haman is the bad guy in the Jewish story of Purim, which was celebrated last Sunday. On this Jewish holiday one of the things you do is when the congregation listens to the reading of the story, every time the name Haman is said people make huge noise, with rattles and their voices, so that the sound of his name is totally drowned out.