The ViM Diaries . . . The Interantional Student Body Politic

“There was a very popular Puppet Opera in Tehran that my Mom went to go see? Do you know this Opera???”

“Yes I know this Opera. I went to see it and your Mom was not there.”

Boat for Blog.jpg.jpg

In keeping with what you have come to expect, I am not where I am supposed to be . . . I am drinking coffee in my room at the Manila Hotel while alternately watching the Mavs/Spurs game. The Spurs are fast closing the 10-point gap as Dallas has accrued way too many fouls to put up any real D. Can you say, “Home Court Advantage?”

I didn’t come up here to watch basketball. I came up here to caffeinate. Got a little too loose at happy hour with the Icelandic Delegation last night. I’m not sure if I am missing the Opening Ceremonies. The indigenous dancing in the lobby was cool . . .

The 31st UNESCO/ITI World Congress & Theater Olympics can best be described as having an “absence of coordination,” to quote one of the Festival Organizers. The Opening, the Registration and just about everything else has been delayed. Downstairs in the Fiesta Pavilion, I’d say there was about half of the sixty countries who are slated to be here at the start. However, to our Host’s credit, there is a small orchestra, a marching band, traditional costumes and two or three choirs singing oddly pretty things that you might hear on the soundtrack of The Mission.

Simultaneous to the Congress is an International Festival of Drama Schools, which is being held at a cruise ship permanently parked in the bay outside my window. This is the HMS Philippines and from what I can gather it is a restaurant and an actaul annex to the Manila Hotel. Wonder if the rooms are cheaper there . . . hmmmmmmmm?

I missed the South African Group at 9 AM but managed to catch a little bit of the Mexicans clown presentation. The Mexicans students brought a perfect aesthetic for an international audience in that their work was cacophonous and rhythmic as opposed to language based. There was supposed to be a Butoh performance by the Mexican Delegation as part of the Congress but it has been canceled. I am most bummed as Butoh has become huge in South America.

I nearly cried at lunch when I sat down with some Iranian drama students. I took a guess as the women were veiled and the men were replete with big mustaches. I was so excited that I ate the fish they were serving for lunch. Biiiiiiiig mistake as I almost had a relapse of Godzilla’s Revenge. No more food on the boat! Luckily I have the pills to pay the bills, so to speak, as I travel with small pharmacy.

The Iranian drama students did this really out puppet-version of TARTUFFE. If I was to impose my Western sensibilities on to it I would have to use the misappropriated “D Word” and other such psudo-intelectual trash talk. But this adaptation was very organic in its insertion of text and songs and little dances while being slyly political. For example the puppeteers wore black lace over their face when they manipulated the puppets. They would then break character and lift up the veils to convey information to each other. Cute huh?

Nothing really could compare to the Chinese Opera students from Singapore. These guys can do standing back flips into splits while seamlessly reciting monologues. After picking my jaw off the floor, I got a little sad in that the States is so inundated by TV & Film to the point where physical training has been reduced to the eternal quest for dope abs. It’d be great if we could import more foreign training techniques to subvert the Celebrity Worship and Cult of Personality that we mass-produce and export with our cancerous Capitalism thinly masked as Democracy . . .

. . . but I digress . . .

. . . plus I just got a text message from Victor instructing me to get my ass to the Opening Ceremonies . . . . There is a minute eight left in the 4th. Dallas’ lead is down to one and a big-three-point shooter just fouled out. And now I gotta bounce. F’ing dammit.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: