I think for me it was the aesthetic that I enjoyed so much, and the immersive experience. Sometimes I really love very short performances, a 50 minutes bullet of someone else's creative expression - it's a bit like having a snack in between meals - tasty, a burst of energy, and just what you need at the time. But sometimes it is good to have a real blow-out banquet feast where you totally overdo it - like a wedding where you start eating and drinking at 1pm and are still dancing at 2am. It's good for us to really push the boundaries now and then.
This was one such occasion and I just really loved the style, quite retro, from Pavol's floral tracksuit and curly moustache, Kelly's bird-nest hair to the retro multi-coloured tracksuits and sneakers which I really coveted. The presentation of 1 & 2 was very graphic and clean but colourful. Until episode 5 I didn't understand why they changed from bounce-around song and dance with military-style callisthenics to a full-on (what turned out to be) Agatha Christie Mousetrap set in parts 3 & 4. But the idea was that the five episodes all used different genre/media to carry the same style of delivery of the text - song, dance, suspense and mystery, then animation and finally a book of illuminated texts á la medieval monks. (I didn't read the programme notes, there never seemed to be time).
For me it just dragged a bit in the Mousetrap scene and got a bit too whacky as it was hard to keep up with the action (though that is true to genre of course). It also seemed to mix Mousetrap with Brian Rix farce more than was necessary or wise. At one point the whole cast stood stock still for what seemed to be hours as one cast member after another delivered a long monologue about losing faith and refusing the catechism - I think this is where most people in the audience confessed to dropping off as it was by then about 10.30pm and several hours into the production. But, it was the protagonist's teenage years and they are often full of intrigue and mystery and it was such a contrast to episodes 1 and 2.
I also didn't quite understand if the different cast members (both male and female) were all Julie or if they were different people that turned up in her life. It doesn't really matter which - the text was clearly her voice right through, in the first person, but I would be curious to know.
The whole concept, of telling someone's life story through their own unconsidered and unedited narrative was intriguing. It's such a personal insight but I think everyone recognised something of their own growing up, underlining the fact that we are all individuals but have so much common experience even across continents and generations. It worked for me, though I can imagine (and heard) some people saying they would rather shoot their foot off than sit and listen to someone rambling on about themselves for 12 hours. But in my opinion, they missed something rare and exciting and I feel privileged to have been there.
I hope the artists get the chance to complete the story to the full 24hour production. It will be a challenge to keep it fresh, to keep changing the style and maybe thinking about how people's waking/sleeping cycle works (it was a mistake giving me something to read by a reading light in the dark, just about the time I would have been in bed reading a few pages before dropping off to sleep for example), maybe something lively to keep people awake if a 24 hour version is to be contemplated. But the whole atmosphere was lovely, as I said last night, it felt as though we were all in it together, I was glad I was there and didn't even mind missing the Bonanafana extravaganza closing party.
Only one more festival event left (Verdi's Requiem tonight), apart from catching the visual art trails in the sunshine today if you haven't done them already. Bravo Festival!