Friday, November 8, 2013

Theatre, disc golf, and a fire.

Song of the Day: Chill in the Air, Amos Lee

Kenz and I went to see The Drowned Man last weekend, produced by a unique theatre company called Punchdrunk. The company’s shows are all similar in approach: a “promenade performance” wherein each audience member wears a mask, isn’t allowed to speak, and is given free reign to the entire venue. I say venue because this isn’t a proscenium theatre; The Drowned Man takes place in a 200,000 sq. foot warehouse with five levels, thirty actors, and an overwhelming amount of prop-detailed rooms.

Considering the fact that this blog is aimed at generic updates to friends and family – and not a theatre review site – I’ll hold off on an in-depth explanation of all the ins and outs (if you’re interested, you can read several reviews online). 

I will say, though, that Kenz and I didn’t really know what to expect. In fact, neither of us was sure that the other would be interested in going. We’d both had strong recommendations from friends, independent of each other, yet didn’t bring it up until last week. I’d booked the tickets and sent Kenz this long, mildly apologetic email explaining the show, saying, “if you don’t want to go, I totally understand and will find someone else to go with me.” She came home later that day saying she thought I wouldn’t be interested in it and was excited that we had tickets.

We arrived on Saturday night, mildly scared, each doing our best to simply “go with the flow.” To be fair, she was stoked; I was the scared one. The impression I’d had was that this may be closer to a haunted house than an actual performance…and the first twenty minutes didn’t do much to calm my fears. We wound up getting separated: one of the actors grabbed my hand, pulled me into a separate room, locked the door behind us, took me on a wildly freaky stroll through the midnight-dark bowels of the building, all while telling me some horrifying story about death, resulting in a crescendo that very nearly had me shriek, and then dumped me out of a door in an entirely different section of the building than we started. I didn’t find Kenz again until three hours later, once the show had ended.

We spent the remainder of the night in wonder, telling each other stories of all the sorts of things each of us experienced during our time in the show, quickly realizing that neither of us had the same experience. The showrunners suggest that each participant will only experience about 30% of what the show has to offer in one go; that estimation isn’t far from the truth. Some folks spent the entire night following actors as they raced from one place to another, watching various stories unfold as the night went on. Others spent their time walking from one room to another, examining the detailed props and settings – all of which piece together to add to the overall story. Kenz and I both admitted that we’d focus on one activity for a while, think we should be doing the other thing, do that for a while, and then return to our original activity for a period of time. By the end of the three hours, I’d just found my stride, thinking that I was maybe an hour into the experience. 

[Side note: when I say examine detailed props, I mean you can open any drawer of any desk to read handwritten letters, lie in beds and examine books and photos on bedside tables, sneak through "hidden" passageways between rooms, etc. This is truly free reign. The budget, not actually disclosed, has been said to rival a small-budget movie. I believe it.]

The next morning, we booked more tickets without hesitation. We agreed that it was easily one of the most exciting, imaginative experiences we’d ever had in a theatre. We’ll return this Sunday.

I snuck a picture while in the bathroom.


I was up and at 'em at 4:45 the next morning, prepped and ready to compete in the first leg of this year's Hyzer Cup. Thirty two of us Croydon Disc Golf Club members travelled two hours outside of London to compete against the Quarry Park Rangers. As mentioned before, this is a Ryder Cup style match play tournament that pits the two largest disc golf clubs in the UK against each other. The competition is in its sixth year and Croydon has lost all but the first. It was time for us to have a strong showing on our away leg. 

Riding in Rich's Bongo.

On our way out of London, we saw the Veteran Car run (London to Brighton - see more here).

Croydon getting amped up (team captain, Sam, in the blue jacket and corduroy flatcap). 

It was cold.

Quarry Park is a private course, owned by the UK's greatest disc golf player. He has sculptures littering the course.

Practice rounds

Right on the river Avon, he also has some swans.
I wound up playing the best two rounds of disc golf I've had since moving here, earning two wins for Croydon. We finished the day with five points on QP, meaning we've got hope to win back the trophy in January when they come to us.


Random photo break:

There's a runner's group that meets at 9am on Saturday mornings. No, I'm not about to join.

My buddy Josh went to the BoSox victory parade.

DeLaney entered his school's mustache competition (to his wife's chagrin).

Kenz continues to win breakfast.

Our local casino (not nearly as glamorous as Vegas [not that Vegas is glamorous, which should tell you something about this casino]).

Facetime with Kelly & Chris!

Facetime with Leanne, MacKenzie, and Maggie!

Joey & his devil cats.

Lil Lucy is growing up! 


People keep gasping whenever I mention the fact that Kenz is in her third year. And she's still feeling the pressure. Between applications, a dissertation, and two impending shows, she's really got a lot on her plate. This week, however, she had a moment of fresh air. Well, I say fresh air; really it was smoky air. What she thought was a fire drill turned out to be the real thing. 

Everyone had to evacuate the building.

She didn't find out who started it.

But people apparently discussed it on the stairs of the building.
She's spending today in a welding workshop. She sent me a picture this morning, surprised that she'd be wearing a helmet today.

Reminiscent of Flashdance?
She has a show next week in the lobby of some large corporate building. Since she's not yet begun work on her rope chair, she's made what she calls a "rope stool," giggling to herself at the use of stool. She's looking forward to the image of this thing coiled up as furniture right next to what she imagines will be quite expensive corporate furniture. One could use the term juxtaposition if one was so inclined...

I say she's not yet begun work on her rope chair, but that's not entirely true. I snuck into her sketchbook to snap a few pictures of her most recent plans. She'll be making a wooden structure to use as a frame, wrapping the resin-dipped rope around it, in order to give the rope shape as it hardens. 

Her throwaway sketches are better than anything I could hope to do as a final product. Yeesh. 

That's it for this week. Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!