Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition

The FronteraFest fringey festival starts next week at the Hyde Park Theatre in Austin. They’ve changed the description on the website – last year it said

‘FronteraFest …. expect the unexpected’

– which didn’t really make a lot of sense and probably led to a lot of people demanding refunds when the unexpected failed to materialise and all they got was more of the expected. Kind of like a night at Austin’s Esther’s Follies.

It would only really be unexpected if you went to the Hyde Park Theatre to watch the FronteraFest show but found the theatre no longer existed and you were in some parallel universe and had to complete a series of bizarre tasks before you could return. You probably wouldn’t have seen that coming.

Apparently they’ve recognised their error because this year the website says:

‘FronteraFest is … five weeks of alternative, offbeat, new, and just plain off-the-wall fringe theatre. Too bad there’s no actual way to expect the unexpected, because that is your only hope.’

That’s your only hope of what? Surviving a whole show? Getting out alive? Has FronteraFest transformed into the Hammer House of Horror? While the honesty may be admirable, it sounds slightly sinister and makes even less sense than last year because they’re pretty much saying that your only hope is no hope at all. Plus all this unexpected business is redundant as they tell you in the previous sentence what FronteraFest is all about.

I don’t think either of my pieces would be described as alternative, offbeat or plain off-the-wall, which is good because that generally means ‘a bit crap’. Both my shows are new though, so I clearly still belong in the festival line-up.

It’s now just over two weeks to my first show and I can proudly say that I’ve never been this unprepared. I’ve reached the point where I have to pretend (lie) to myself that my most brilliant work comes from being up against a deadline and that I couldn’t possibly work any other way. I know it would probably be wise to stop twiddling with the writing and focus on the learning of lines and general performance, but there are so many ways to say the same thing and I’m determined to explore them all. Plus if I forget half the lines and do it in the wrong order I’ll just wave some pink scarves around and claim it as an experimental piece about menstrual cycles and the moon.

And then there’s the second show, the one about my obsession with Queen. It premieres on February 6 and I’m still working on the first draft of the script. I’m slightly concerned. But on the good news front I had a dream about Freddie Mercury last night and I haven’t had one of those in ages. He was helping me move furniture, specifically a desk from my mum’s house into his. My mum was out of the dream very quickly after she started on about how ‘queer’ used to mean something very different in her day. Anyway, the dream was clearly a sign that the show will be a raving (Queen) success. I wonder if the author of the Queen comic book (see prev blog) can say the same?

Friday 25th January – That Diana Look

Wednesday 6 February – Stalking Roger Taylor