10 October 2008

Desert Island Dances - Wendy Houston and The Big Game by Polyglot Theatre

I'm going write quick descriptions of the show, avoiding my own opinions.

Desert Island Dances was a solo performance by london-based Wendy Houston. She used chalk and words and dance to tell her story. It was a complex story that imagined us on an lovely island, but the island was very slippery, always becoming something else. It's hard show to describe. At a mid-way point she evaluated the audiences response so far, graphing it along a back wall, contributing to a chalk mural that was accumulating. There were small vague stories illustrated with an intense physicality. Many people laughed including many of the jury. They also squirmed. I, too, laughed and squirmed but it was late and I'm still jet-lagged.

The Big Game was a show by Melbourne-based Polyglot. It was for primary school kids in a large warehouse kind of place that used to be a meat market. The show began with various cheerleaders encouraging vocal animosity between different sections of the audience. Some of the jury members got into a mean-spirited yelling match, started by some young n'er-do-wells sitting beside us. Video of the screaming match to be posted soon. The show told the story of a volcano who forbid the people to play a game. His daughter was somehow involved and then, eventually, there was a challenge and a few kids from the audience were selected (they were plants, we later learned, or a least kids who had been involved with the workshop process)to play the Big Game. The Big Game involved the actors rolling dice and the kids having to do a bunch of stuff. Each kid represented a different section of the audience, who all participated by cheering, singing lullabies and screaming at each other. After a winner was determined, we all killed the volcano by throwing paper planes at it but that made his daughter sad so he came back to life. The end. In Act Two, the audience was invited to play the game and get involved in other activities. Video to follow.