Flashback to my pre-FML days, an era in my life whose memories grow murkier and more distant to me with every passing day…and yet, I remember this much. Even before I saw for myself why the Everyman saw fit to give the performance in question an 11 day slot, I felt a longing in my belly…like a swallow who just somehow knows to get the fuck out of Ireland come winter time, and get his ass in sunny Africa, despite the trials and tribulations he may face on his way, I knew I had to see the spectacle that is FML for myself, no matter what. How was it I knew the show was undeniably “unmissable”? Who knows, it’s a mystery really. Sure, I’d seen the impressive rehearsal clips on youtube, was of the knowledge that it had been declared a “MidSummer Must-See" by the Irish Times, and had heard of the performer’s profound progress during the year…but yeah, mystery
Only last night, whilst engaging in the glib and oily art of conversation on the medium of correspondence that is Facebook, I felt the urge to state boldy, and out of the blue to one friend in particular: “oh, i'd highly recommend seeing FML before it goes btw! it act really appeals to the emotions, i'd think you'd like it like!”, to which he replied: “really? in what manner?”. “Indeed” I said, “in a concoction of manners”.
It didn’t stop at that, either. I knew that if I were to convince anyone the spectacle was actually worth the hefty €11 entrance fee, I’d have to show, not just tell how ever so wondrous it was. So I set out to do just that.
“come the end of the show,” I recounted, “you can pretty much expect your lungs to ache from laughter, and if the audience were to be anything like the one present last night, you can expect a number of spectators to have fled the room in a state of heightened emotion, unable to bear the subject matter at hand, never to return, particularly when the topics of depression and suicide are covered, too”
The friend in question, he daringly interjects my thoughtful on-the-spot review with “lol is it that controversial” I opted not to dignify such a stupid question with a direct response…how could one be so blatantly oblivious to the fact that the performance in question was directed by none other than Pol Heyvaert himself, a Belgian director renowned for his reluctance to shy away from confrontational material in his work...The naivety, it shook me to the core tbh. No, instead I went on to tell him he could expect the image of Lydia, a girl portrayed as being plagued by insecurities, lack of self assurance, and general social anxiety, booming the lyrics to "U.G.L.Y. (you aint got no alibi), to be etched in his mind for quite some time after, should he attend the piece 2kaiX
Seriously, i'm still haunted by the aforementioned scence that unfolded right in front of my eyes…the fact that a loud drumming accompanies the chant further accentuates the raw, exposed emotions in question…you couldnt, as Palahniuk would say, make it up. Why, the audience was left in a state of utter silence for minutes after. To this, he responds with “well it does seem to have had a profound effect on you so i imagine it's good”
Finally, I felt I’d made a break-through of sorts, though I felt perhaps my efforts were worthy of more than just having given the impression the performance was merely “good” but ah sure, C’est La Vie like!
I then understood what I had to do to fully encapsulate the genius of the show in word form. First coveying my indignation in replying with “it was…”, I then went on to play the biggest card I had on hand, the potential “dealbreaker” of sorts, if you will…"even Maryam was forced to show her amusement at Saoirse’s undeniably comical lines, having being rendered hysterical with girlish laughter” Now, that was saying something, and judging by the silence that ensued, I’d no doubt scored a direct hit with such a risqué statement. I followed through with a second blow, to seal the deal once and for all…"i liked that it wasnt afraid to push the boundaries, even if in doing so, the play just so happened to have offended a handful of people, predominantly middle aged women like”. At this, he was left speechless on the matter, and the a change of topic took place. I knew I hadnt the power to make the boy attend the perfomance before it left, but at least I felt i'd given an informative account of what was to be missed out on were he to turn a blind eye to the MidSummer Festival 2010's prize theatrical piece, and so felt my culture-related obligations for the day had been carried out
One might still wonder, however, how exactly a production which casts a spotlight on the lives of 15 mere Corkonian young wans in a blend of spoken word and film, true confessions and lies, earns itself a standing ovation come the end of the show? Is it the fact that the cast are not exactly acting, just offering enhanced versions of themselves on stage to open the audience’s eyes to even the most trivial shit - that it really is “ok to strip”, ok to perform even the most awful karaoke, and that kinky whipped cream applications don’t always end well? Or is that, because the stories, anecdotes and reflections are based on personal experience, the experience feels authentic: the words and feelings have not been imposed; when, for example, Charlie tells you that he "hates happy people" you know he really means it? I’ll leave that up to you to decide for yourself…FML plays in the Everyman Palace for just 3 more nights…don’t miss out, bitches =]