Sunday, April 06, 2008

Booze 1, Culture 0

I happened to discover on Saturday that Ireland's PanPan theatre company was in town this weekend with its touring production of Oedipus Loves You, "a 21st Century take on Sophocles's famous drama".

There's very little decent theatre in this town (hardly any in English), so I was keen to try and check it out - and dismayed that I'd very nearly failed even to be aware that the play was on. The beginning of the month is a very bad time for visiting artists to put something on, because we laowai generally only find out about such events from the expat listings magazines..... and they only come out at the beginning of the month (well, usually a day or two from the end of the preceding month)..... and it usually takes us a few days to get around to picking up a copy. Thus, there's a 'black hole' at the beginning of each month where we're woefully unaware of anything that's going on. Heck, some of us even missed Norah Jones when she played here a couple of years ago, for precisely this reason.

And at least Norah had some advance publicity (billboards the size of a house; but the actual date of the concert wasn't very prominent on them), whereas this theatre troupe seems to have arrived in town entirely unheralded. Putting out handbills in a few expat-friendly restaurants on the weekend of the show is not going to draw in many punters.

I'd already missed Saturday's performance when I picked up the handbill. Sunday was the last show. I had no idea where the theatre was. It was a bothersomely early start (Sunday tends to be my main day for going out for dinner, late and leisurely). I didn't have much time to enlist any friends into accompanying me. The omens were not good.

But I set out on Sunday afternoon with the handbill in my pocket, and about a 60% expectation of making it to the show (and maybe even dragging along one or two other people). However, a lazy afternoon of rooftop drinking was passing so pleasantly that we didn't really want to quit until the sun went down; by which point it was too late to make it to the play. And we were all ravenously hungry, so we retired instead to The Muslim for an enormous nang bao rou and several more beers.

So much for good intentions.

It's months since I last got a decent fix of culture.

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