I know I haven’t written in a while. At first I was legitimately trying to wrap my head around the performances I had seen, but then I lost the tiny red notebook I had been taking my notes in…
How can you lose a RED book in a small London flat you might ask? I have no idea. But, it is still m.i.a. so for now I will have to give you my majorly abridged version of the shows. Here goes.
“In the Republic of Happiness” @ the Royal Court Theatre
Backstory on the theatre. My theatre professor told the class that this theatre is known for getting exciting new, cutting edge writers. I guess its pretty famous, and for a wednesday night, it certainly was crowded enough. The play itself was…eh. I like all kinds of theatre, but this (excuse my British pun) “was not my cup of tea.” It started out enjoyable enough with the curtains opening to reveal a family at Christmas dinner (I know.. it being well past xmas, I was not enthused to see a Christmas tree onstage). There was a good awkward silence and then the eldest daughter (there were two) starts talking about her pregnancy. Ugh.. The banter was funny enough with a senile Grandfather, a witty Grandmother, a quiet mother and a partially deaf father. Oh, and can’t forget the angsty younger daughter (funny story I had actually seen her in a film of “Romeo and Juliet” in the Globe Theatre. Didn’t like her over-the top acting there either). Anyway, it was entertaining enough but then the young, kind of hip uncle crashed the scene and that’s when I thought I could actually start liking the play. He was hilarious, putting down all the other characters in the name of his fiancee (who hadn’t been introduced at that point). The fiancee was then awkwardly introduced and proceeded to change from a track suit into a ball gown. You with me? You won’t be in a second. I forget what the deciding factor was, it might have been a song. Yes the fiancee actually burst into song, microphone, subdued lights and all. Then the set was whisked away into a game show like place with stools for each character and a fuzzy t.v. screen in center stage. The whole thing then proceeded to get pret-ty weird as “themes” would pop up on the screen and the characters would talk about it. Certain catch phrases that come to mind are, “I spread my legs,” and “I am my own person.” Very “interesting” stuff.
What I got out of it was some satirical message making fun of the idea of individuality, authority, family, religion, etc. After each theme came on the screen and the characters talked it to death, there would be a song, at which point one or more characters would sing almost verbatim what they had said not 10 seconds before. Not a fan of the songs. The break up in the themes was a good idea, but the songs were too repetitive and the theme rants too lengthy.
Believe it or not, that wasn’t the weirdest bit. After that part was over, a new set came into play. An all white room with a giant glass “window” overlooking a body of water of some kind. The only characters in this were the uncle and his fiancee. I honestly have no idea what they said, even if I had my tiny red book I couldn’t have told you. All I remember was weird sexual anger vibes and a song by the uncle at the end with him singing “the happy song” (literally just those three words over and over again in an unsettling way). Yea. I can’t really comment on the costume choices because they just seemed to reflect the stereotypes the writer was going for. The uncle was dressed in all white which went nicely at the final scene. Also, from part one to part two all the actors took off a couple pieces of clothing or put down their hair. This was probably meant to create a more relaxed environment and separate what they were saying from their characters (which made sense since part two didn’t technically have characters). Also, the way the sets swapped was really cool. One and two broke apart and three came up from the floor, which I had yet to see here so it was pretty cool to see. I would say, if you like to be confused, uncomfortable, and possibly angered by a show, this is one to see. You’ll also laugh, for a while at least. (see, even reading this post is semi-uncomfortable). Another post to come very soon!