As I was going over the KMI Bridge on my way to the last performances of the 2018 edition of AACT WorldFest, I was trying to come up with something intelligent to say about the performances of Poland and Australia I attended the night before.
I won’t recount the details, which would be meaningless if you didn’t see the plays, but, as it is each evening, the adjudicators, well-schooled and experienced in the theatre, gave expert opinions of what they had seen in the two performances. I missed almost all of what they had seen. I missed the symbols and allusions made by the Poland troupe on the plight of women in relation to their mothers, fathers, husbands – their life. I did figure out a couple of allusions but missed the important clues that made the performance complete in message and effect.
I caught on to the Australians and their portrayal of a stranger’s struggle to be welcomed fully into an already-intact society group. But many of the subtler messages and allusions escaped me.
The adjudicators caught them and explained them with clarity.
Back to the shock – I attended those performances, but only my body, old and creaky, and a few of my brain cells were in those near-the-front seats. My active brain, well-experienced in the ways of the world, was absent. I didn’t put anything into the performances. I was content to sit there. The shock of recognition is that if I am to get something out of my attendance I have to put something in. I can’t be lazy and watch a serious performance by talented authors/actors, in the same way I watch reruns of “Lucy.”
By the time I arrived at the theatre, I resolved to do better. To dig deeper. To bring my A-Brain to the next performance. My last performance was from Germany, and I really got everything they wanted me to, I think and hope.
I urge you to read the blog and emails penned by Corrine and Kelly Woodland, two regular VT actors (and director), who are well-schooled in the theatre and they are offering valuable advice that will enhance your appreciation of the theatre.
Wrapping up the final day of WorldFest 2018 saw the torch-lit park by the theatre filled with participants and folks who had purchased the entire package. The talk was of great performances, great city, great Venice Theatre staff, especially the tech staff. Then it was into the MainStage for awards. Entertainment was provided by the Commedia dell’Arte students. Awards were given out on every conceivable subject, each met with great approval from a packed house. Dorian Boyd delighted the audience with a solo song on coming to America, showing Boyd can make beautiful music in addition to sound and noise.
The awards ceremony was packed full of appreciation and thanks for the volunteers of Venice Theatre, with special mention of the home hosts. Bob and Carol Wood related their experience over the past three WorldFests with their performers from Denmark, Bangladesh and this year, Slovenia. They were uniformly positive, even delighted, with having the people in their home for the week. Cindy also related with pleasure, “Last night the Slovenia people cooked a wonderful dinner for us!” Please keep this and other experiences of home hosts in mind as you plan for the next WorldFest in 2020. This will be a great way to expand your horizons and delight in the international flavor of your Venice Theatre.
That’s all from this writer on WorldFest 2108. I enjoyed every play I was able to see. The international and out-of-state visitors I talked with were uniformly positive with Venice, the volunteers, and the individual staff members who made this such a great experience.
Please mark your calendars for June 2020. Mine is already marked in red.