Au­di­ence fair game in show

The Southland Times - - Front Page -

Ever have those weeks where it all just gets to be a bit much and the end of the week isn’t even in sight yet? Stress, both phys­i­cal and men­tal, has a lot to an­swer for, my friends.

It gives you wrin­kles, acne, high blood pres­sure, car­diac ar­rhyth­mia and a whole slew of other nasty things.

It can also gen­er­ally make you a bit of a prat to be around (don’t be that guy).

Yay life.

What I’m say­ing is that stress can quite lit­er­ally kill you, so it’s im­por­tant we have reg­u­lar in­ter­vals in our lives where stress doesn’t ex­ist.

Work can be stress­ful, home life can be stress­ful, kids can be stress­ful. Heck even cats can be stress­ful.

Yes, I know that last one sounds a bit ridicu­lous, but when you’re rush­ing out the door to work and you put your shoes on hastily, only to find that your jerk of a cat has vom­ited in them (OMG se­ri­ously what is my life), then that can make you a lit­tle bit stressed.

Es­pe­cially if it’s same rude cat that vom­ited in your car­rot seedling last month that you’d been try­ing to grow for three weeks (a dis­gust­ing, but true story).

Cat puke aside, I’ve had a few things on my mind in past few weeks and while it’s not caus­ing any danger­ous lev­els of stress, it’s still no­tice­able.

But in a mo­ment of ra­tio­nal­ity, I de­cided that some­thing had to give; I was stressed about sev­eral things, but what could I do about some of those things?

A whole lot of noth­ing, that’s what.

Yes, stress has a lot to an­swer for, but how much of that are we putting on our­selves?

Think about it: that thing that is caus­ing you ma­jor anx­i­ety – do you ac­tu­ally have any con­trol over it?

If the an­swer is no, then let me give you some rad­i­cal ad­vice: let it go (or try).

Now, I’m not obliv­i­ous to the fact that this is much eas­ier said than done, and there are sim­ply some things that can­not be let go.

But some­times it could be some­thing as sim­ple as leav­ing a room to get out of the headspace you’ve been in for the past two hours.

Maybe even try say­ing what it is you’re stressed about out loud – you’d be sur­prised how in­signif­i­cant and maybe even silly it might sound when you speak words to it.

Or maybe take a nap from all your re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, even if it’s just for half an hour (friendly PSA, do not do this at work).

OK, prob­a­bly not that last one, but univer­sity Briar would have ar­gued that point un­til she was blue in the face.

The Min­istry of Health’s web­site says we all need a bit of stress in our lives to stay healthy. They’re not wrong; it’s im­por­tant we know how to func­tion un­der pres­sure.

But al­le­vi­at­ing stress is also im­por­tant. I read a brochure from the Men­tal Health Foun­da­tion the other day that sug­gested cre­at­ing a har­mo­nious work environment could be ben­e­fi­cial for manag­ing stress.

‘‘Or­gan­ise your workspace; have some flow­ers in your of­fice; check your light source,’’ it said.

Ba­si­cally I’ve in­ter­preted this as a fan­tas­tic ex­cuse to give my­self flow­ers ev­ery week (good Lord, could I be more sin­gle).

So, if you think you may have a bit more on your plate than what could be con­sid­ered rea­son­able stress, let me make some sug­ges­tions.

Here’s a list of things where stress doesn’t ex­ist: the sa­lon where you get mas­sages, spa baths, the tast­ing area at winer­ies, Dis­ney­land.

I’m go­ing to haz­ard a guess that stress also doesn’t ex­ist in places like the Mal­dives, Bora Bora or San­torini be­cause how can any­where that beau­ti­ful even re­motely cause any­one to have a men­tal aneurism.

My dar­lings, theatre has never been so fun! In the fi­nal week of the South­land Fes­ti­val of the Arts, the best has been saved for last in this hi­lar­i­ous, rau­cous, en­er­getic and un­con­ven­tional retelling of Robert Louis Steven­son’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

This was a show I’ve been look­ing for­ward to for most of the fes­ti­val and, dar­lings, it didn’t dis­ap­point.

The per­form­ers – a troupe of five – have sexy French ac­cents, which I’m al­most sure is de­lib­er­ate be­cause how can you say no to au­di­ence par­tic­i­pa­tion when some­one is talk­ing to you in a sexy ac­cent?

From the sec­ond the doors to the theatre opened, au­di­ence mem­bers knew they were in for some­thing dif­fer­ent and to ex­pect the un­ex­pected.

The ‘‘Frenchies’’ – Bap­tiste, An­toine, Phillipe, Gin­ger and Lily – poured out and boldly in­tro­duced them­selves as we shuf­fled in to­ward our seats.

Try as some peo­ple may, there was no es­cap­ing them; in fact, there was no es­cap­ing them for the en­tire show.

And it was fab­u­lous. There’s a cer­tain cringe fac­tor to au­di­ence par­tic­i­pa­tion, but Jekyll and Hyde made it any­thing but.

Ev­ery­one was fair game but you didn’t feel silly – one gen­tle­man got par­tic­u­larly into his role as ‘‘Doc­tor Paul’’, elic­it­ing chuck­les from ev­ery­one as he was led to­ward the stage in a creep­ing, ma­ni­a­cal fash­ion.

The re-telling of the story in it­self is quite sim­ple, with the five per­form­ers shar­ing around the two roles of Jekyll and Hyde by way wear­ing hat for the good doc­tor and badly-coif­fured wig for Mr Hyde.

Where this show earns its stripes is in its hi­lar­i­ous barbs and one­lin­ers, tai­lored to the lo­ca­tion they’re per­form­ing in.

The show’s dra­matic and comedic use of sound serves them well.

A thun­der­ous clap ev­ery time the words ‘‘the dark­ness’’ was ut­tered and the deep voice ma­nip­u­la­tion effect on the mi­cro­phone for the Mr Hyde di­a­logue made for busy yet pol­ished per­for­mance, but one where you al­most for­got this was an ac­tual per­for­mance.

You’d think ev­ery­one was al­most ad-lib­bing the whole thing in the way it comes to­gether, such is the troupe’s en­gage­ment in per­for­mance.

Though a tra­di­tion­ally grotesque and ter­ri­fy­ing char­ac­ter, Jekyll and Hyde pro­duces a Mr Hyde char­ac­ter that is both dark and funny.

Giv­ing into his dark de­sires, his one lin­ers from ‘‘can I sniff your neck’’ to his, ahem, ‘‘in­volve­ment’’ in what I think was a sort of in­ter­pre­tive dance at a strip club, are sure to have you dou­bled over in laugh­ter.

Don’t worry about that dark­ness tak­ing over the show though, they al­ways make sure to ‘‘push it down’’ and keep the momentum go­ing.

A most bois­ter­ous and sidesplit­ting retelling of the Robert Louis Steven­son clas­sic; dar­lings, take the time to revel in the de­lec­ta­ble chaos that is Jekyll and Hyde – it’s very pas­sion­ate (they are very French).

The cast from Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

Stress, both phys­i­cal and men­tal, has a lot to an­swer for.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.