No Ordinary Logie TenementI've been GAGGING to tell y'all about the historic theatre event at 48 Logie Place on Sunday, but can't seem to grab an hour to do it. Okay, here goes.. IT WAS AWESOME! Well, that didn't take too long, did it!
As you probably know, the National Theatre of Scotland is launching on the 25th of February, and to mark the event, a series of "groundbreaking" theatre productions centered on the theme of "Home" are taking place all around Scotland. The first was just up my street, literally and otherwise. I took Teresa, a good theatre-loving friend of mine, and headed off; it's less than a two minute walk.
There's a signpost outside the block, which happily tells us how far we are from places like Queensland, Australia; and Idaho, USA. I'm not exactly sure what that's about.
I resisted the temptation to give the thing a nudge, but I'd wager it's not plugged in anything like securely enough to last more than a month. That's Logie for ye!
I agree, the Logie architecture often speaks to me. As I wander round at night, I imagine the architects with their grand post-war vision; good, solid, functional homes for up-and-coming families. Back then, this area was the place to be, apparently. My Nana had the first house here (which still stands) and old locals will tell you all about how it used to be a bustling community, how the shops were busy and the people felt content and secure, right up until, well, Heroin, I guess.
They're like Monopoly houses now, the local council can have you moved in the same day; yet dozens lie empty while Aberdeen has an official homeless population in the thousands. Desirable, they are not. But this guy is gonna try and sell them anyway. Good for him! They are fine homes, I'd buy one.
A local appears at the rear of our group, though I didn't recognize her, and starts mouthing-off at the estate agent. "Fit's going on here?". Teresa reckons it looks like she's about to jump someone; I have to agree; and slip behind her, whispering "Shhh! It's theatre" in her ear, about the same time the estate agent comes forward to do exactly the same thing. The situation jumps about then diffuses and we head inside. The girl doesn't follow.
In retrospect, I think she was actually an actress, and I probably, erm, altered the prelude! Och well, another one for the life-and-times series!
With a sniff, and a sigh he leads us to the first flat, which he nonchalantly informs us might be haunted.
We head along the dim, brown hall with its fascinating old photos, and into a barely lit room. Teresa gets a start, to put it mildly; there seems to be a corpse sitting on a chair!
But as we huddle round the room, and the lights gentle raise, the corpse comes to life!
The phone rings! I won't spoil it for you, but suffice to say, it's not her daughter, who really IS dead, and makes a ghostly appearance soon after..
The ghost really threw me, but I wasn't that far off with my initial assessment. Hopefully, you'll see, or rather hear what I mean when you go yourself. When the lights go up, and the crazy French Chef appears, some of the audience are visibly shaken, but that's only the first act! The best is yet to come, oh yes!
And so it goes, up through the flats of one fine Logie tenement block, each flat, each act exploring a different dimension of the concept of "home". It's tempting to give you a blow-by-blow account, but really, I don't want to spoil it too much, especially if you happen to be going along over the next few days. You can't take it all in, not in one sitting.
For instance, one of the flats had us stop in the lobby, with a mini-performance in each of the side-rooms. Really I should go back another couple of times and find out what the others were; we got the kitchen being at the front of the pack; with a pair of what can only be loosely described as mime-artists, funny stuff, and I didn't once feel the need to peek in any of the other rooms. I do wonder what was going on there, though.
Space was tight, you see. In a couple of the flats the actors were literally weaving in and out of us, and it's clear why only twenty-odd folk get to see each performance; there is simply no space for more! And of course, it's a credit to the actors that they could perform sometimes inches from "the public", and perform so brilliantly, too; it's clear from the outset that this is no "amateur" production, to a man, the crew do an incredible job. Having such great theatre right in your face like that, very refreshing; I even got spittle on me at one point!
The transitions were as good as the main pieces, though it's these gals, cowgirls, to be precise, who barged in right at the end of a truly heated family scene singing "wherever I lay my hat", leading us onwards and upwards to the final, and my personal favourite piece, well, they certainly stick out in my mind!
At the end of it, he turns his agony back to the window, and we who feel more than spectators catch our breath, just then, the most joyous noise takes over the place. It is an OM. Charmed, we slide out of the flat, leaving the dieing cod behind..
Of course it must be "Home", but the beautiful acoustics of a standard Logie stairwell, and these fine singers lining its walls, lift that word up and out of the roof; the whole place held in this beautiful joyous vibration as we dizzily pour down the stairs, our hearts bursting. We want to shout "BRAVO!", but are speechless, dumb-struck. I softly joined in the OM. What else?
I had one picture left on my digi-cam, and flipped the thing to video, didn't care much where it pointed, just wanted to capture a couple of seconds of this amazing sound1, a snippet, but I got a whole round. Check it out, a wee low quality taste of the thing, at least..
We mill around outside as the hOMe sound fades, the players make their way to the windows to receive their rapturous applause, screams and whistles. The middle four windows light up the word "HOME" (first pic, up top) so we don't forget what it was all about, because for most of us fortunate locals draining into the Logie night, it has been a fairly mind-blowing experience, one that will linger and probably take a while to sort itself out in our minds.
And that's that.
It still hasn't entirely settled in my mind. The material and performances were powerful enough, but more than that, they way the themes all meld into each other, compliment and catalyse each other. What is Home? What does it mean to me? To you? I guess I'll come back to that; for now I'm still dipping into the memory, enjoying the weird sensations of theatre-that's-not-afraid-to-bump-into-you.
I gotta wangle another pair of tickets for the week-end.
All ears-and-eyes, no camera.
ps.. Karen! Get in touch!
pps.. I'm meeting up with the NTS photographer dude, Dom, on Saturday, I think (and hopefully, Teresa, too, because she "kens a'body!"), to take some pictures of locals. I'll maybe see about getting some of those pictures into a future blog. Oh, here's Dom, hard at work..
- the camera has an audio "memo" facility, but altogether too fiddly to reach in moments like this