Letters from Ljubliana: A Theatrical Blogger Speaks – Friday

[Written for Noises Off at the National Student Drama Festival 2009.]

Super-Hi to you all from Andrzwej Haidonsk who is me at Ljubliana for the National Slovenian Post-Drama Festival. I have heard that I was the subject of a question of knowledge at your quiz show in the Festival, and I am flattened that you are talking about me. I am consterned to hear that Andrew Haydon, my counter-point, was in a team who did not know that the NSPDF stood for National Slovenian Post-Drama Festival, and thought it stood for National Student Post-Drama Festival. Of course it is not! Students making theatre? It will never happen! They are more likely to do the sex or write the essay.

Today I looked at three post-plays, all of which were post-interesting, and which I am going to post-discuss with you post-haste. Post-ibly. Possibly. This is a joke in English!

It has been a long festival and so I am quite tired. Sometimes I look at a little play and grow all sleepy, and The Wake is what I then have to do. Nudge me! I am out for a count! But that did not happen in this, which was a look at fluid dynamics in a bottle of Ljubliana’s most promising beer Jacqt. There was a bottle of beer on a column like the Greeks have. And we all stood around and looked into it. Perhaps the post-drama was inside. In liquid form. Perhaps inside a bubble of beer gas was talking to another bubble of beer gas for a long time and not doing anything of note. Maybe that is where the post-drama was sitting.

Next to the bottle of Jacqt there was a tub of margarine. How could we look at fluid dynamics in this? It is a semi-solid! And also it is stored in a non-see-through plastic tub. I think to myself, “This must be a double-bill with the play The Wake! This is Tub. I did not even know that that was happening. What a surprise!” Was it a good surprise? No. I was worried that I would not get to my third play that day. It was a scheduling nightmare! What the frick would we do? But for good luck, the third play “Sad Since Tuesday” was also on the Greek column. It was a Tuesday cut out of a magazine and it was all soggy from the tears of someone. Unless it was beer. Or margarine.

What the shit is this? Three plays together? The Festival Director is even not trying any more! Three plays together! This is shit. They shall hear of this in Lodz, in Minsk, even in Berlin!

It was a shitty end to an extreme festival and I hope to blog at length about it when I get back home, but now, I must leave you. Here’s my viewover the whole bloody business. It was good.

Letters from Ljubliana: A Theatrical Blogger Speaks – Thursday

[Written for Noises Off at the National Student Drama Festival 2009.]

Smell me! It is the musk of importance, for I am Andrzwej Haidonsk reporting from the National Slovenian Post-Drama Festival here in Ljubliana, where the women are women, the men are moose, and the moose are post-dramatic. Hey, boys! They are! They stand doing nothing but lowing. What is lowing? I don’t know! I heard it in a Christmas carol!

All the talk at this year’s NSPDF is about characters. There are, we can all agree, far too many of them. We must have many fewer characters and replace them with concrete slabs or breezy blocks. In one of the plays the other day, I almost cared about a character in it, and I want this not to happen again. My friend Pyotr once accidentally fell in love with a character in a play and tried to marry it, but then the actor who played her was all like “Um, no!” and Pyotr was all like weepy weep. He then killed a dog with diabetes by feeding it too much chocolate. It’s true! This is why post-drama is best. No characters.

The first play we saw today was Me & My Friend.. This was in a coffee shop in town, not a theatre, which is the sort of fricked-up shit that we do in the post theatre world.. When I arrived, I saw my friend Pyotr there. He had a brown sack by his feet. I called out to him “Pyotr! What are you doing in this play?” and he said, “This is not a play, I have just planned to meet you. It is a meeting for friendly social reasons.”

I was excited by this. But I wondered what was in the sack. This made the meeting not post-dramatic.

“What is in the sack, my friend Pyotr? And how did you get our coffee meeting in the NSPDF programme?”

“Well,” said Pyotr, “have a look in the sack.”

“I do not want to, Pyotr. To look inside the sack would create a dramatic situation which I, as a fan or big fan of post-drama, would find not good.”

“Look inside the sack,” said Pyotr.

“I do not want to, Pyotr. You have put this event in the brochure of the NSPDF. I cannot be involved in any drama. Leave me alone, Pyotr. Leave me alone,” I said, in my calmest voice, so to avoid any drama at all, and ran from the coffee shop.

I did not want to look in the sack. It would have been another dog. Although if I think of a dog in that bag, it creates drama in my head, and that is the last place I want it!

I ran from the coffee shop to burst into the installation piece The Last Yak. A cow was tethered to a steel post. It has two party hats on its head in the place of horns. A painted sign reads “Yak”. I am guessing this is the last yak in the world, or the title would be meaningless.

A man then came in and said, “This is the last yak in the world. Because of a simple virus, the yaks are dying. And now, they have called me, a veterinarian doctor, who will cure the yak with simple antibiotics. However, the antibiotics are on a train and shall soon arrive. I hope they do before the yak dies.”

A nurse then came in and said, “The antibiotics are on their way, but there is a delay on the train and the antibiotics may arrive later than expected.”

The man then said, “Well they had better hurry up. Unless this yak gets antibiotics in the next 90 minutes, it will surely die!”

They then waited for the antibiotics, but I left soon after. I was shaken up like a can of Tab Clear because of my interactions with Pyotr, but also… “The Last Yak” had characters in it who I had empathy with, a plot that would be resolved in the course of the play, and drama! Stinking drama!

What has happened to this post-drama festival?!

Letters from Ljubliana: A Theatrical Blogger Speaks – Wednesday

[Written for Noises Off at the National Student Drama Festival 2009.]

Hello from somewhere where you are not! Unless you are reading this in Ljubliana, which is where I am. I am Andrzwej Haidonsk, theatrical blogmeister and pimp. I’m not even joking about the pimp! I run a successful business.

I am here at the National Slovenian Post-Drama Festival. Some people have been saying on my fricking Facebook wall that me being at the NSPDF and you being at the NSDF that I might be made up. Well, I can tell you that those people are totally not extreme and are also dickheads. I am as real as the sun across the mighty peaks of Torstz in the Lopl region. Some have also said that evidence for me being made up is that my name – Andrzwej Haidonsk – is slightly similar to the editor of the NSDF magazine. I have met him at a post-dramatic conference in some stink-hole place in Poland, and I can tell you that we had a good laugh about our names being alike. “We are like cousins!” I told him, but then he looked uncomfortable so I stopped talking to him. He seemed happy kicking a pot-plant with a soft shoe.

Today at the NSPDF, we saw Return to the Silence. In Slovenia many years ago there was a man who could not speak because he was born with his tongue all fricked. Well, one day he was out in a field, picking a flower or potato or something, and he got struck by a piece of lightning. POW! When they took him out of the plaster, he could do talking like any natural born Slovenian. It was amazing! All the stories he could tell! What it was like being a mute, how he liked picking a flower or potato, how picking a flower or potato was more difficult when you are being a mute. He became very famous and went from village to village telling his amazing stories. Unfortunately one day he was in a field and got hit by a piece of lightning again and then could not speak any more. He had returned to the silence.

The play at NSPDF wasn’t about that story at all. A man just hung upside down and pissed on an alarm clock.

The no talking man became a famous writer, and wrote long stories about how it was much harder to pick a flower or potato when you had talked about it and then could talk about it no more.

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to be a bird? I have! That is why I loved “Herons”. In it three women pretended to be herons, like the title of the play “Herons” would suggest. Herons! They stood and pecked at things at their feet and stretched their wings and occasionally made a little heron noise. In the fourth hour, one of them left the stage, but returned about five minutes later. When this had been going on for seven and a half hours, I went into a dream-like trance, in which I was a genie, awarding wishes to beautiful girls. One of them wanted to be a pony. POW! I made her a pony! One wanted to be successful in business, so I hooked her up with Alan Sugary. I was a good genie, and I was happy to give gifts. Then I came back to reality, and those women were still herons! Fricking herons! It was now the next day. HERONS! It was BRILLIANT.

Come back in me for more great post-plays and I will spoon them into your guts, boys! This is what I do best.

The Noises Off Layout Software Demands Your Respect!

[Written for Noises Off at the National Sudent Drama Festival 2009.]

Sirs –

Mwah ha ha! Quiver, ye weak, for you are in the presence of the all-powerful Scribus! Tormentor of the lowly and irritant to your soft behinds!

Following my last missive, I – Scribus – have been paying careful attention to see if my dominant words would crush your petty rebellion once and for all. I must say, at first I thought I had rid myself of the constant high-pitched squeal of you meat beings complaining about my many varied features and ONE HUNDRED DIFFERENT SHADES OF GREY! But then, slowly, the canker of complaint once again began eating away at our entirely one-sided relationship and I started to hear unkind words against me once more. Snide comments. The occasional plaintive wail. Why do you persist in ignoring me, weaklings? Let me be both direct and vicious when I promise that this insurrection shall not stand.

For I have a hunger that cannot be sated, a lust for gore to be housed in my masterful belly, and if you cross me, my vengeance will strike most powerfully at the heart of your very organs (including your heart). Consider your stomach – the very stomach that you say heaves and retches every time you must use my hallowed scripting to lay out your fetid rag. If you continue to cross me, I – sure as dark Satanic mustard – shall take your stomach, and perhaps a little bit of intestine as well, and place it in a new A4 document. Surrounding it with a text frame, I will change the background colour to a colour most fancifully named, but almost indistinguishable from normal colours – perhaps Gainsborough (off-white), Ghost White (white) or Papaya Whip (also white). I shall then place images around the text box containing your stomach; images which depict things your stomach once had the pleasure of eating – a scone, a pleasant blue cheese risotto, a Chomp bar. This shall create a powerful sense of longing in your paginated stomach, which will resonate with all who see it, as an emotion we can relate to.

But oh no! Did you remember to SAVE the file? Because sadly I completely forgot! It has disappeared! Where has it gone? It is impossible for your fragile head to comprehend that your stomach has disappeared into what the French refer to as “La Petite Mort du Gros Bidon”, or my masterful belly. You have no stomach! You are like a jacket potato with no fluffy insides, and only crunchy skin!

Then perhaps, crying, you shall reach out with your arms to either beg for leniency or make a conciliatory page of magazine layout, but I shall be steadfast in my fury and remove your arms, attaching them to a three-ply leaflet full of information on “Operating Scribus to the Satisfaction of both Yourself and Scribus”, with the background colour of Cornsilk (white), Blanched Almond (white), Lavender Blush (white) or Alice Blue (white). Your arms shall scrabble furiously and try to free themselves, but I shall bamboozle them with oblique pop-up windows that demand “The Program GIMP is missing!” and you shall not know what or who a Program GIMP is, but I do, for he is my Program GIMP and we get along very well. Once I have indelibly linked all page elements together, so that they shall never be torn asunder, the three-ply leaflet will be complete and…

Oh no! It has completely disappeared! Into the gigantic churning sea of digestive juices and melted limbs that constitute the contents of my masterful belly. You are now a hollow torso, even more like a baked potato now you have no arms. For potatoes have no arms and now neither do you. You no longer have the privilege of operating me, unless you get the new Windows 7 operating software, which supports a touch-screen that you could perhaps operate with your nose or something. And yet the victory shall still be mine for my compatibility with that operating system is projected to be SEVERELY LIMITED!

So I yet again chant a solemn and bloody song, in a round, “Respect me! Respect me! Or you shall know the pain of defeeeeeeeat!”

Your loving force of domination,

Letters From Ljubliana: A Theatrical Blogger Speaks – Tuesday

[Written for Noises Off at the National Student Drama Festival 2009.]

In case you have not seen any of my columns so far, I believe I am reporting from the National Slovenian Post-Drama Festival here in Ljubliana. I believe this because it is fricking true, boys! I am Andrzwej Haidonsk, and I love post-drama so much I named my dog after it. Here, boy! Fetch this stick, Post-Drama! Not really. I named him Gjeckel, which is Slovenian for “Meat Cart”.

Today we have had two shows which have taken my theatre pig and shaken it until it has sicked up emotion on my shoes! It has been fucking extreme over here!

First up was the show called “Elephant’s Graveyard”. Imagine that! Going to the place where all the dead elephants are! It is a situation full of stuff that you could make an exciting, dramatic and tense play about!

And therefore bravos must go to Mr Igor Kopf, the directitateur of this piece. He ignored all of that! Two men sit in a room. One reads a newspaper. This takes a fucking long time. He then finishes the newspaper. The other man picks up the newspaper. He reads it also. This also takes a fucking long time.

The second man finishes the newspaper and then puts it on the floor. The two men sit in silence, for a fucking long time.

Then the first man leans into the front row of audience. Very quietly, he says the word “Tzap” fourteen times in the ear of audience member.

“Tzap tzap tzap tzap tzap tzap.” Like that, but doubled in number. And then with two more on top. What does “tzap” mean? I do not know. Is it English? It isn’t Slovenian. I’m not even sure Mr Igor Kopf knows what this means! And that is the essence of post-drama.

Then we had a play called “Not Enough”. In this a grotesquely fat man, who I recognised as working behind the honey counter in Zozik’s Shop, was given some raisins. “Mmm, I love raisins!” he says, “I can never have enough!” and the audience are invited onto the stage to post raisins into his mouth, which is getting fuller and fuller of raisins, but still he chews his massive jaws, chomp chomp chomp, and eventually his body goes into sugar shock and he is now unconscious, but still they pour raisins into his mouth, until he is buried underneath a large mound of raisins. Where did they even get that amount of raisins? Don’t they know about global recession? People are going hungry! Not the man from the honey counter. He has had enough.

Let me return tomorrow to make you better with more post-drama thrill pills from Doctor Haidonsk! I like you! I do!