Tuesday, 19 March 2013

The last (late) word on Short+Sweet Dubai

On Sat 2nd March, in the evening, after my Shift in the Library had ended I hunted down Bryan at More CafĂ© in the Mall. He was sitting on a sofa drinking espresso whilst reading Wolf Hall and silently screaming Urbane Chic, or he would have if he had been reading his book on his i-pad or  a kindle and not a dog eared paper back tome, but that is another chain of thought. I picked him up and we confidently strolled into DUCTAC to get tickets for the all singing and dancing grand finale of Dubai’s Short + Sweet Festival. They were SOLD OUT. I kid you not. We went home tails between our legs missing out on the opportunity to see the best of the best of the festival.

So it is all over till next year. I loved it all.
I avoided, as much as I could, blogging about the productions. Now that it is all over I can rabbit on a bit.
For the full list of Festival Winners have a look here:Gala Final Winners-2013
I have taken the info from each play from the Short and Sweet Organizations web page so click here if you want full details: Top 20

I must  I confess ,straight up, that I was  especially rooting for the locally written productions simply because it is so very hard to write material to perform that I  just had to mentally cheer those productions on. I was moved by Arjun Burman’s “Cold Call” he wrote and acted in a sad twist of irony play. I mentioned “Yeki Bood / Yeki Na Bood” in my last blog. A Comfortably put together play that was a delight  to watch. In no small measure because you  really did not have to understand what was being said. Dana Dajani , who was in Yeki Bood/ Yeki Na Bood, also delivered a very smart  clever bit of writing in a rap style with  Jibberish  ( yes that is someones name) in “MiC Prophecies”  which she and Jibberish performed in a tight  well put together piece.

I was pleasantly surprised by  the breadth of material delivered in the festival.  From the fantastical “Because the world needs Unicorns”, which wins my vote for best costumes with their Unicorn and Dragon costume I so wanted to put the dragons tail,   to the social conscious “A Spoon Full of Hope” loving produced and directed by Ankita Manikantan and supported by the Back stage crew. There were productions that  showed a tongue in cheek ( I hope)  window into life in Dubai “ How To Win Friends”.   I adored “Borys the Rottweiler giving us  a loyal view of a dogs lot in life.  Maha Hussain was a sympathetic and endearing character. At no time did I feel uncomfortable with the idea that he was a dog. I loved the simple trail of illogical logic that only a dog could have followed through on.

I thoroughly enjoyed  The Drama Dubai Workshops Improv “ Dearly Deported #1”. Jonathan Siklos  and the gang put on a quick flowing ten minutes of good improvisation. It was great to have that in the mix BUT it was really not what I would have called a ten minute play. Not by any stretch of my definition of the term. Which brings me to a point. It would be lovely if next year the Festival has a breakdown of categories. I did not like to judge the Improvisation together with the scripted plays. I also did not like to judge the school productions against the adult productions as invariably they have a different dynamic to that of an adult production. Just a thought. I also did not like it that we only had one vote  each per show set. If you are attending to support someone then changes are that you will vote for them out of loyalty.  Unlike me who did not vote for my husband’s play - I thought another  play was better. BAD MOVE ON MY PART. Anyway this means that many people do not vote for the best play they vote for their friends play. Then there is the issue of big casts getting big votes because they get big support. So I am just saying that if each attendee got to vote two or three times on the same sheet it would level the playing field a bit. Just a bit. And of course I would have a husband that does not looks at me  like I have shot him  with my cruel lack of support or like I deserve to be shot for my cruel lack of support, alternatively, depending on his mood and desired outcome. There is nothing for it, at the end of the day, for the sake of my maintaining a good marriage, the voting and rules must change. Oh and whilst I am on a rant there were people that auditioned in the initial stages most of whom did not get parts whilst people that did not attend auditions were given parts. I remember back in the day in a previous life of Drama Darlings how this was a very contentious matter. If you hold auditions you must cast from that. If talent does not attend the auditions then they should not be considered.  Alternatively don’t  hold auditions and cast from who you know and once you have cast the parts that you can from your pool of peeps then hold auditions for the rest of the roles.
Back to the productions. Overall my winner was The Others. A slick presentation by Theatrewallas productions who, I am told usually, work in Hindi. It was not my favorite play, but it was, for me, the Best Production. The pace was great. The atmosphere menacing, the voices clear when they needed to be and bone rattling discordant when appropriate. The cast was focused the script good the ending spookily eerie. My runner up production was Perfect Stillness. Heart-warming and bitter sweet. Rohit Prakash played a grieving husband having a conversation with his dead wife, Aswathi Menon. Lovely performances.
I am a fairly shallow person when it comes to entertainment.  Coming from a third world country I really have had my fair share of moralizing tales of an uplifting  ( or not) nature. Being a drama darling I have also encountered  a hunk  of serious ACTING In big shouty words. What I like to watch is usually witty and clever and light. Considering tastes it is good for me to be  taken out of my comfort zone and have my cage rattled a bit. Short + Sweet did that. So thank you to everyone involved for creating a forum that made  me watch things I would not rush out to see.

The writers, directors, actors and organizers  all worked so hard to put together two weeks’ worth of good value entertainment.

See y’all next year.

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