If you want to make an omelette, you must be willing to break a few eggs…

Posted: September 3, 2010 in Listen With Your Eyes: a festival of the visual, QUACK!, Womb Tide
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MS, CB, & ToS at Laager Board Our Festival is officially open! And Opening Night rocked!  In typical FTH:K style, it was an experiment; a chance to try something different; a new format for an Opening Night shebang.  See, when we were planning the Fest, we couldn’t work out how to do our Opening/Media Night.  Would we do two evenings, one for QUACK! and the other for Womb Tide?  Would we have to cover drinks and food for both?  On the media front, could we really expect them to come to both shows?  And if they did, would they have enough space in their papers to do two reviews?  Surely not.  Surely they would have chosen a single evening to attend and a single performance to review.  Which would have defeated the point of the Festival insomuch as we wanted to show two very different and distinctive pieces of FTH:K’s rep.  I mean, what if they chose the show that didn’t speak to them and as a result reviewed the whole Festival in that one light?  Precisely.  So we decided to do a double-bill Opening Night.  QUACK! at 6, then dinner, then Womb Tide at 8:15.  And, as it turns out, it was the right thing to do.  We were initially concerned that people would leave after dinner having seen only QUACK! – which as we already know, is not everyone’s cup of tea; especially if they happen to be older than 37 ;-) – but the theatre seemed even fuller for the performance of Womb Tide, which was awesome to see.  People came out at the end of the evening comparing the pieces, which they had enjoyed more, why, how they had interpreted the pieces, which elements had spoken most to them etc, but moreover, getting a window into the scope of FTH:K’s creative style.

We are anything but dull, seems to be the general consensus.

So far, reviews for both pieces have been positive, with most reviewers getting the point of this all: visual communication.  And this extends from the integration of the Deaf and hearing communities (both of whom had strong representation at Opening Night) to the style of the pieces.  And with the two works being so different, we never expected everyone to love both.  But we did want to make them think.  And talk.  And discuss.  And debate.  After all, part of FTH:K’s purpose is to push its audiences, sometimes to places of discomfort, but always with the intention of getting them to engage with the experience.  Even if it’s only to unpack that which they didn’t understand or enjoy. Interestingly, one reviewer (who shall remain nameless lest Christine kill this blog-poster on returning to Cape Town!!) refused to review QUACK! He came to Opening Night and only stayed for half the evening as he had “seen Womb Tide in Grahamstown” and said that he disliked QUACK! so much, he couldn’t bring himself to “waste time reflecting on the piece” by writing a review.  This in an email to The Market Theatre.  Interesting, huh?  The Producer from The Market called before sending the email on to us, worried that we might be very disturbed by the reviewers negativity.  The thing is, when you are a theatre company that is committed to breaking new ground, trying new things, pushing that envelope as far as possible, you get used to some people responding as if with an allergic reaction to your work!  Does it get us down?  Not so much.  Sure, it’s kak to have a negative responses to stuff that you put so much love and time into, but you can’t win ‘em all.  Neither would we want to.  Or we would risk becoming the MacDonalds of visual theatre (to steal a phrase) which would suck even more.

As economist John Kenneth Galbraith said: In all life one should comfort the afflicted, but verily, also, one should afflict the comfortable, and especially when they are comfortably, contentedly, even happily wrong.

Sma applauds Sure, it can be lonely at the front, but we keep having to remind ourselves to look back at the people following us, and notice that our audience base continues to grow by the season, and we have far more positive reviews under our belt than negative ones.  (And we include in these, those reviewers who might not have enjoyed a piece but still have something to say about it.  Engaging with the experience in some way, you know?)  Our FTH:K family members constitute those people who are prepared to go on a journey with us, even if it’s to places dark and unknown.

And for that we love them stukkend!!

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