Saturday, April 25, 2009

NSDF Overview

Another year, another Festival. By now your alcohol-ridden brains will have already forgotten all the shows so for your benefit here’s an overview of the Festival.

Before we get going I’d like to take a moment to be a sentimental git. Skip at your leisure.

It’s worth remembering that NSDF is about more than the shows, there’s huge amounts of organisation and logistics that go on behind the scenes that we humble students will never be privy to. Last year the Festival was dominated understandably by Arts Council worries, but this year the workshops, the tone, everything (apart from having five shows discussed in one day) have been spot on and for that vast amounts of credit must go to Holly Kendrick and all those that sail with her. So… yeah, take your credit. For now…

Anyway, here, in Green Route order, are the shows as described to me by the drunk collective voice of the Spa Bar. You might want to put on some of that crap ‘Top Ten Movies Ever!’ countdown music on your iPod now for added drama.

No Wonder was a tale of the death of fairies and why Peter Pan can’t fly anymore (cos the fairies are dead). Elsewhere people in black moved things and spoke deliberately out of sync with the actors on microphones, the dicks.

Normal charted Hitler’s unsuccessful attempts to conquer Germany by slaughtering all its buxom beauties while swans hung about like they were important or something. Nevertheless it was the best play ever (comment of Richard Dennis, University of Edinburgh).

Return to the Silence was impressive for dividing audiences completely between those who thought it was an incredible, precise and professional piece of theatre that made them weep uncontrollably and those that thought it was an incredible, precise and professional piece of theatre that left them dead inside. That’ll be the ol’ neurons playing up.

Vowel Play took letters and did things with them. Dirty, unspeakable things that made some audience members blush. It was also the first show to bring that word ‘stereotypes’ to the fore. The joy.

Herons was about racism. And stereotypes. Again. Even though it wasn’t. Confusing; but not as confusing as trying to build a wall with only 27 bricks. Leggy birds were also in the minority, shame. But no matter what else you fucking cunts think, that Edward Franklin is a fucking legend.

Elephant’s Graveyard didn’t have an elephant. We’ve been over this already.

Never Enough had physical theatre. Some students discovered that their predisposition to hating physical theatre ‘just because’ had been as retarded and ignorant as they always feared it might be. Some bottoms were pushed and it all ended happily á trois.

The Last Yak had animals in it. These animals had a God. This God was a big hairy thing that kept people warm. Animals died and the RSPCA were called to the scene. A potent metaphor for the struggle of human existence.

The Wake started with a dead man coming out of a coffin. Thinking that this was the start of the long-prophesised zombie uprising I proceeded to soil myself and retreat to my fallout bunker. You can never be too careful. Word on the street says some nutter got up from the audience and started harassing the performer. Kids these days…

Tub was loved by many for its simplicity and poignancy. Sadly that was lost on me. Even NOFF editor Andrew Haydon said I had no heart because of this. I’d cry if I had a bottle of whisky to hug.

Sad Since Tuesday delicately and tenderly advocated killing children. But Tom Coxon has got the bruises on his body to prove that it was in self-defence.

And then there was Me and My Friend. This time last year I had ended the Festival with 4.48 Psychosis and a performance so heart-renderingly brutal in its examination of the human psyche that on leaving the auditorium I uncontrollably burst into tears. Why bother saying what everyone else is going to be saying anyway?

Umm… so that’s it. Muchos gracias to every single show this year, each one had aspects that more than justified it being here and being showcased. And the cajones to perform them to such a standard under that pressure is always remarkable. Thank you as well to all those I’ve shared conversations with about the shows and my views on them, especially those who I disagreed with. It’s the only way I learn.

In conclusion: I’ve been a cunt, but freedom of speech’s a bitch.

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