November 21, 2015

Richter City vs Swamp City Roller Rats

Last weekend the Swamp City Roller Rats from Palmerston North met Richter City All Stars at the Kilbirnie Recreation Centre. The early start time may have contributed to the smaller than usual audience. Those that were there were enthusiastic.

Due to a problem with the printers there were no programs available which made it difficult to follow who players were. Most of the Swamp City players skated under their own names rather than a derby handle, which added to confusion when their uniforms displayed their handles. Wellington audiences would recognise Terror Satana and Mack formerly of Pirate City Rollers. Another former Pirates player that was anticipated (by us) to make an appearance, Skate the Muss, was absent.

Based on our knowledge of the two teams we had expected a close game but were disappointed by Richter taking an early lead which they maintained ending in a landslide victory 363-66. MVPs were Vicious Vege, Tuff Bikkies, and Jody Hare aka Madd Honour.

Solid performances came from those we expected, such as our Vege, Pave and Bubble O’Kill, while Swampies’ Terror, Justine Saunders (Justass - Team NZ skater), Michelle Rutherford (known from ARDL), Mel Deacon/Killer Doll, Danelle Mercer/Underage Rage and Wendy Lyons/Meds also made impressions whether expected or not.

Currently the Richter City All Stars are in Melbourne for the VRDL Invitational as part of the Ultimate Sport Expo (USE) 2015 to participate in WFTDA sanctioned ranking bouts. Their first bout was this morning, with another convincing win of 297 to 106 over Melbourne Northside. Tomorrow (Sunday 22 November) they take on Canberra at 11am NZD and Perth at 3pm, while Pave, Zam, Bubs and Jet are in the “Best of the visitors” team to play against VRDL skaters at 5pm. A live stream is available for these and all tournament derby bouts.

Next game: 28 November, Whenua Fatales vs Richter City Convicts 5pm, then Richter City Convicts vs Kapiti Coast Derby Collective 7pm

November 4, 2015

A Collection of Noises

People will faint; some people can’t handle this. A Collection of Noises is an original work in the style of Grand Guignol. Can you last the journey? - Writer/director Alexander Sparrow

I wish I’d read this comment before I saw A Collection of Noises last night. It was a brilliantly executed production, but I wasn’t mentally prepared – it is definitely not for the faint-hearted.

The programme described it as “a horrific new play” which “follows a young girl, Alice, as she attempts to navigate her troubled mind. It’s dark in there, and some thoughts just won’t leave her alone…”

I walked into the tiny studio theatre on the top floor of BATS, and instantly felt nervous about how small the audience was; how close the seats were to the stage.  So confined and exposed, there’s nowhere for me to hide. I sit in the back row, trying to get the fourth wall firmly back in place. I want to comfortably observe. Remotely. Anonymously. Safely.

The lights come up, and I’m sitting in Alice’s cramped attic; a darkroom with startling, large black-and-white portraits strung from wall to wall, pegged in place. In pride of place are two photographs of the faces of two young, beautiful blonde women.

Alice emerges from the back corner. Dark hair, dark clothes, and dark lipstick with a silver face.  She is literally the photographic negative of the two blonde divinities that she has set up on a pedestal to worship, to resent, and to aspire to. She’s a dark vortex of anxiety, obsession, and self-hate.

Alice tells me her grandfather has recently died. She tells me. I’m so physically close to her, and her voice is so soft, so conversational, so confiding. She’s not a character on a stage. She’s Alice. And she trusts me.

He’s left her a box. We go through the contents together. A jumble of random, unrelated objects: scraps of paper, an old book, a hat – an old-fashioned razor blade. She weighs it on her palm, threateningly, for a suspended moment, before throwing it back into the box.

The obsessive, psychotic, violent thoughts come streaming out of her, and I know exactly how this play is going to end. But it’s too late. I’m trapped. There’s nothing I can do to change what’s going to happen. I can only watch in horror.

I realise I’m sitting in the worst possible location in the audience. I’m so uncomfortable. It’s too raw being in such close quarters with Alice and her thoughts. The room is too tiny, I can’t breathe. This severely messed up girl is telling me her deranged thoughts, and I watch her spin out of control, and I can’t escape. If I try and leave, she will hurt me, just like she hurt the last person that tried to leave her.

To get out of the room, I’d have to walk through the entire audience and across the stage to get to the door. In my mind, I know that if I really, really wanted to, I could still leave. No one could force me to stay. I could leave. But I can’t. I’m too scared of her. I don’t want to draw attention to myself.

As Alice spirals further and further down her unhinged rabbit-hole, dragging me with her, she keeps talking to me. At first she asks my opinion causally, quickly filling the empty silence with “it’s okay, you don’t have to answer, you can just watch for now”.

But as the show goes on, she starts to get frustrated with me – I’m just sitting there, watching her. She’s shared her pain with me, shown me the depth of her rage, and I haven’t offered any solutions. I just watch. I feel powerless. Just as I can’t get up and walk out of the theatre, I can’t speak to her. I know that technically I could. But I can’t. I can only watch, paralysed. I feel so guilty. I am responsible for this. It’s partly my fault. I sat and watched, and did nothing.

I have never felt so uncomfortable, so involved, and so at fault, in a piece of theatre before. So at fault for just watching. I would highly recommend this show.

Performances: 3-7 November, 7:30pm
Tickets: $20