Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sydney Theatre Company's Stockholm and discovering my love for theatre

Haunting and Unsettling. Two words that critics used to describe this magnificent piece of theatre and also the two words that made me rush out to see it. I love to be haunted and I love to be unsettled, don't you?

I want a play to drag me by the hair and pull me out of my comfort zone. I want to shift uncomfortably in my seat and worry about what my friend, who is sitting next to me, is thinking when a rather disturbing scene is playing out right in front of our eyes. I want to feel the pain in my body when characters on stage become inflicted with physical violence themselves. It's much more fun to watch something like that. Agreed?

'Stockholm' is a story of two people who appear to be madly in love with each other (keywords: "appear" and "madly") but as the story unravels, we slowly see things go downhill. We witness supressed emotions violently expressed and seeds of anger into relentless rage. Then we see the cheeerful atmosphere set up in the opening completely obliterated. Then we (finally!) become helplessly uncomfortable. The fun starts.

British physical theatre Frantic Assembly collaborated with the Sydney Theatre Company to create a powerful piece of hybrid theatre, using dance and spoken word, to illustrate a story of an abusive relationship fuelled by both passion and paranoia.

I must confess that this is the first stage production I have ever seen, apart from musicals, and I was completely blown away by it. How on earth did I manage to exist in this world for 17 years and not once experience the power of theatre? I walked out feeling like I missed out on something so great, and I was hungry for more.

I wasn't sad or upset, I was relieved. I found another passion, and I was happy. I walked out feeling the same way I walked out of a screening of Michael Haneke's 'Funny Games' and realising that film can be more than just entertainment, it can be challenging. The same feeling I had the first time I listened to a Bjork song and realising that a singer's voice can be beautiful despite being otherworldly. The same feeling when I realised that burst of colour on a canvas is not just there to be pretty, but to tell a story too.
There's an incredible rush of energy through your body, not adrenaline, something more potent. It's a curious feeling but I know now that it's an indication of a new found passion, a way my body tells me that if I do this for the rest of my life, I'll die a happy man.

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