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Friday, March 14, 2014

How I Spent My Wednesday Night

On Wednesday night a friend and I headed up to Belfast for an Audio Play. I'd never been to one before and didn't really know what to expect. It was a very interesting experience but, because it was all down to sound it's probably gonna be very hard for me to write about it and do it justice. It's the kind of thing you have to experience for yourself. But I can give you the gist of it. The whole idea behind it was to give you a sense of "what the fuck is going on here?" We walked in a few minutes late so we were already a little unsure of what was going on. As i sat down in the darkened room I looked around me. There were massive speakers set up all over the room. The floor was a metal grid which you could peer down to see some kind of cement basement. This made me think of the hospital scene from Jacob's Ladder in which Tim Robbins is wheeled through various disturbing scenes. He looks above him and there is a metal grid in which horribly disfigured mental patients peer at him and scream. I think it was this movie that gave me a taste for strange and disturbing films. So after looking around the room I realised that there was nothing in particular to look at so I closed my eyes and concentrated on the sounds that came from the speakers.

There were three separate plays broken only by a moment of silence that was deafening. There was dialogue all of them. In the first play someone died as a result from getting stranded up a mountain or a boat. I think. As I missed the first few moments of this one I kind of had to assume this was happening. A long with the dialogue were background noises of the wind howling. A woman was sobbing. Then all of a sudden a woman from the audience stood up and walked out of the room. At first I wondered if she was just finding the whole experience too intense but I then realised that she was the only visible actor in the play.

The second play was about a radio talk show. It was based around the issues of "the fleg" and I picked up on influences from A Clockwork Orange as they talked about a government programme that had been put in place to "cure" people's anger. This came with a lot of distorted background noise and at one point the sound (intentionally, I think) of the radio show talkers became fainter as if there was a technological fault.

The last one was the most intense. It was the inner dialogue of a girl who suffered with obsessive compulsive thoughts. I found this very evocative and powerful. It didn't have a happy ending. She poured boiling water from a kettle over her face. The experience as a whole was brilliant. Afterwards we drank wine and told the producers and writers what we thought. They were encouraged by the feedback. We found out then that the lady who walked out was meant to make the audience question if she was part of the act. It was all very cleverly constructed and enjoyable. Who knew there were such treats for the ears and mind?


Rob Z Tobor said...

I have never heard of an Audio Play before. But then I am a bit reclusive and antisocial so dont know what is happening anyway with stuff like this. . . . .

Anonymous said...

I was there! Yes, it was a mind blowing experience indeed. Great to have it immortalised in your blog too. There'll be more amazing stuff coming up soon (as there always is, thankfully)