One Mad Camel:  Crimson | Alex Broun Play Festival

One Mad Camel: Crimson | Alex Broun Play Festival

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[Editor’s note: While the views expressed below are Rosine’s, and Rosine’s alone, we’d be remiss if we didn’t express solidarity with the general opinion. None of the team –  I repeat, none –  had the energy or mental fortitude to stay around for Blue after Crimson. It was too painful, draining and soul-crushing. Actors were wasted, time was wasted, and money was wasted.]

One word to describe this experience: painful!

Alex Broun sat his audience through 10 plays at an average of 10 minutes each – some went even longer –  without an interval.

I’ll come back to the specific plays in a minute. But let’s look at some general notes first.

General observation for this evening: no tempo, no pacing, most of the plays were stretching uselessly, bad curve in the line up.

If we want to summarize this group in numbers, because this is what ABPF likes to portray (tagline: “100 actors, 40 plays, 30 directors, 1 playwright!”) …  here are my numbers:

  • 150 minutes – no interval, of average and below average performances, very few plays stood out
  • 28 actors, 10 directors, 10 plays, all rushed on stage at the end of it, for a 30 seconds group bow, 1 very lame excuse: ‘we went over our time limit!’
  • 1 very bored and frustrated audience, as if none of us can do simple math –  number x length of plays – and understand that the production knew about it and let things go … Well, it went down badly!

Crimson opens with 27 Flavors Of His Kiss. Hats off to the director, Defne Gursoy, and the lead actress, Carine Bouery, to transform this average script into a vibrant performance, full of life, love and energy.

Bas Ek Pal (the Hindi version of The Celine Dion Songbook) by Purva Grover, was overflowing with useless drama that lost the main meaning of that play, the mutual sufferance of the parents of a child with a rare disease. A moment of temptation that every parent in that case will go through, without being portrayed as monsters. The addition of the child on set to brush the audience drama sense, was unnecessary. It is only fair to compare it with the other production of the same play in the same festival, that one was a master piece, tight and with a great tempo that kept the audience engaged.

Donut, directed and acted by Hazel Lucas, was fun, light, quick and engaging. Maurice Cassan, congrats on your first acting role. Watch out, it can be addictive.

DonutABPF

The Dairy Of A Break-up/Break Down, was my favorite of this group, directed by Chandni Varma. Girl, you need to direct me one day! Afaf Shawwa and Hussein Hadi, you completely nailed it, the energy, the harmony, the tempo, the humor … Great job team.

The Gift, directed by Pawan Manghnnani, could have easily been a 5 minute play. Pawan over stretched an already stretched and cyclical script. Even the talented Eric Dury and his usual powerful acting skills and stage presence, couldn’t pull up the overall tempo.

The First Fireworks, directed by Sidd Jose, put on stage 2 actresses with a beautiful harmony between them. At that point of the lineup, Jennifer Turkington & Elaine El Tromb’s soozing voice and composed performance came as a calming balm to our soar backs and starting-to-get-bored minds.

firstfireworksabpf

Ridiculously, Madly, directed by Syed Imad, was a poor version of a break up scenario after ‘The Diary Of A Break Up’.

Spading, directed by Sabiha Majgaonkar, flat script, can work in a series of pick-up scenes, like the one showing at ‘Boudoir’, but in this group it was like ‘what happened, did it end? Did I miss something?’

You, directed by Hani Oueidat, was a good play, good acting with bad pacing and lost tempo; the audience was in real pain at that time in the lineup.

Missing Katerina, directed by Kirin Hilliar … I did apologize to Kirin when we left the theatre, I was so tired at that time, I completely lost the beginning, yet, good job team, the cast did pull me into it in the middle of it.

Notes to directors:

  • Whatever happens, you don’t walk out from the audience, at any time, to help with anything going on on stage, even if it is in blue light, nope! Not professional at all! Either you choose to be audience or you choose to be in the backstage! You can’t be both.
  • If you are having actors handling glasses or cups, please fill them up with water at least, so your actors won’t gesture with them as if they were an extension to their arm. The actress with the coffee cup in ‘Kate Blanchette Wants To Be My Friend On Facebook’, in Magenta, would have burned herself 4 or 5 times with hot coffee, if this was in real life. I am really hoping that whatever the character Deborah was drinking in ‘You’ is good for the skin, because she splashed herself countless number of times gesturing this cup; then it falls, because she was holding it loosely when she crossed her legs, she picks it up and naturally sips from it …
  • Please use real and realistic props, or don’t put them in your direction. How hard is it for the mom giving her son medicine in ‘Bas Ek Pal’ to be holding a cup or a sipper and then a cloth to mop the floor?!?! Why was she taking medicine by sticking the needle into the medicine box and not a bottle from inside the box. In ‘Love Sucks’ in Magenta, the actor was acting writing a line on a whiteboard, but he was just gesturing, either you write or you don’t! And the actress had a white roses bouquet that she addressed as carnations! These are few examples that the audience commented about.

Many of the audience leaving The Junction, had the same reaction; many of them were in for a full 2 groups that night, they left after the first one.

Rosine Out!

 

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Rosine Saad

Chronically ill with an acute case of No-Filter-Disease. Getting through with her sarcasm and a dash of humor.

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