Sunday, November 11, 2012
What does ‘mad’ mean?
I’m looking at a flyer for a theatrical production and I’m feeling just a little trepidation about it. It could just be because it is theatre. Theatre tends to have that detached over-the-top exaggeration that even stand-up comedy doesn’t have.
What I’m really concerned about is horrible clichés emerging during the performance and having to sit in the audience gritting my teeth with the want to shout things out, like hecklers would to comedians or poets in a pub.
I’m also feeling awkward about this production because I’ve got a piece of writing in it, so I’ll be partially to blame.
Just at a glance, I’m sure it looks like a MAD comic sort of thing to most people. You know, all those fun kooky mad women thinking weird stuff. Get into that giant cake and rub it all over your body like lube!
I'm all into the idea of the fun of madness. But the actors pictured are all in white, some in strait-jackets… so they’re trying to say this is something about the psychiatric system as well… Something like, ‘Ain’t it fun being all tied up!’
The actors are open mouth smiling laughs… they seem to be having a right ripper of a time… Makes me want to ask… Does this show have any authenticity in its direction?
The poster replies: ‘Um… awefinticity ‘bout wat?’
Am I mad about this mad show? Um, depends what you mean by ‘mad’. I haven’t even seen it yet and I’m bagging it for the baggage it brings up about horror, prejudice, ignorance and cliché rubbish.
Still, if you’re in Melbourne, I’m urging you to go see it. Recognise what the individual writers think ‘mad’ is, what the costume designer thinks ‘mad’ is, what the director thinks ‘mad’ is, what the actors think ‘mad’ is and if the use of psychiatric torture equipment is fitting with the term ‘mad’. Some people think the term ‘mad’ is akin to crazily angry. Some people use it for selling mobile phones cheaply. Look I’m going to be open to this show and give it a watch and keep my mouth shut and learn exactly what people think. No need to assert my opinion by madly calling out things in the theatre. Maybe a cough or two will do, if utterly necessary. Got to stick with the boundaries of what is okay, or you are mad.