Punchdrunk – The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable

The Drowned Man was full of drama, emotion and poetry. I went alone, spur of the moment, having got one of the last £20 Entry Pass tickets the day before. I vaguely knew what to expect and felt nervous upon entering Temple Studios. However, my nerves were replaced with excitement as masked audience members gathered into a lift. Some were released on a different floor, but most of us alighted to a dancing cowboy character.

Somehow, I lost that story-line and ended up following the plot between Wendy, Darlene and Marshall. I picked characters I was drawn to but also tended to stick to the crowd. When I deviated into a room on my own, I got momentarily scared and came out to search for white masks.

I’d spent the first few minutes trying to work out my feelings towards the experience. The only parts I’d say hindered my enjoyment were that there were too many people, and I would also have liked to know whether it would be best to follow lots of characters or just one. The crowds meant you couldn’t hear what the cast were saying all the time; although I’m not sure you always needed to, it would have been best to know what was going on more. At one point it was too crowded to see what was going on, so I followed a woman out a faux fire-exit, but she turned to ask where the exit was. This was probably the worst part (you’re not mean to talk!) – she exclaimed that it was “ridiculous” and so I walked away from her. If you’re not enjoying something, at least respect other’s right to and do what they said and go to the black-masked individuals for assistance.

As the time ticked on, I became immersed in the experience. I hadn’t been to an experimental production before and I gradually tested my boundaries. I thought the play was well acted, the expressionist elements were intriguing and I particularly enjoyed the aspect of dance. It captured the period, but also existed in a surreal place not fixed in this universe. During the scene where the adulterers are caught, I managed to see it from two different perspectives which was interesting. It played with time as you pieced the story together.

Then, I decided to divert from my main characters and followed a woman who interested me. It opened up a whole new story as I read love letters in cabinets. The woman left the room and walked up some stairs. I followed her and she offered her hand to me. I took it and she started running. I ran with her, I heard something drop and went to pick it up (it was my debit card and travel card) then continued to stumble my way down some stairs. It was the final scene and she placed her hands on my shoulders throughout. The voiceover called ‘cut’ and she tightened her grip for a second, before letting go. She took my hand again at the eruption of music. I moved awkwardly as she pulled me towards a box and indicated me to go on it. I stood, wondering what was happening. It just meant I had a good view for the last dance and bow.

I left with a smile on my face, back in reality with secrets running through my mind.

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About carminamasoliver

I'm an ex-UEA writer from South London. Founder of She Grrrowls. Feminist Arts Writer for The Norwich Radical. BAR poet. Published by Nasty Little Press.Currently living and working in Spain.
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One Response to Punchdrunk – The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable

  1. Elaine Ewart says:

    Wow, sounds really intriguing!

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