So, I went to the Theatre. A pretty predictable thing to do in Wellington, but something I’d not yet bothered with.
I’ve spent the last few years taking advantage of discount tickets to the big West End shows in London, so I guess my big smoke snobbery thought I’d seen the best of it. But Wellington theatre is… different. It’s more intimate. I loved it, actually.
I took the man with me. He booked the tickets, in fact, so it would have been rude not to. We arranged to meet outside Bats Theatre at 6.15pm. The show started at 6.30.
I was late because I’m always late, and soggy because I’d walked the wrong way up Kent Terrace in a downpour. We just made it through the door before the lights went down (no time for me to grab a glass of wine, sadly, but there is a bar available for more punctual souls).
The first thing I noticed after I’d shrugged off my sodden jacket, was how small the space was. A pretty teeny black stage, with a seating capacity of what couldn’t have been much more than one hundred avid theatre-goers. We were pretty much at the back of the audience, but I could still make out every detail of what was happening on stage.
Raindrops were still dripping off my nose as the treadmills started up. Yup, treadmills. The play we went to see was called ‘Standstill’. In a nutshell, it’s about life. How we struggle to keep up with the pace, and the expectations we have of our own achievements. Do you get the point of the treadmills?
Now, neither the man nor I are ones to be impressed by typical artsy symbolic bullshit, but this wasn’t like that. It was good. It was comical and light. It brought ideas bubbling to your mind without then ramming them down your throat. And it only lasted for an hour. Win.
Not that I wouldn’t have sat through another hour of the production, because I quite happily could have (wine break conditional). I actually would have liked to have learned more about some of the characters portayed (very aptly, in my humble opinion) by the three actors/actresses on stage. But I liked its compactness. Quality over quantity wins again. I didn’t feel short-changed, either, because the tickets were only twenty bucks a pop ($14 for students).
I suppose it wasn’t exactly an optimistic play. It offered no solution, nor a fool-proof way to live your life. But thank fuck for that, that would have been awful. Regardless of this, the humour brought in by some of the characters (particularly by Josephine the power speaker- very accurate portayal of one of those bullcrap self-help gurus, in my opinion) ensured that we went back out into the rain cheerfully.
The West End lures you into its productions with catchy songs, bright lights, and dazzling effects. In Wellington, theatre has to work harder. It was just us, the actors, and the stage last night (and the treadmills) but everybody was captivated. I damn well recommend it.