Edinburgh 2013: Turning confessions into comedy
They say that tragedy plus time equals comedy and we in The Maydays are a common denominator in this equation. In our show we take audience members’ secretly disclosed confessions and turn them into an improvised performance.
We come across some shocking admissions in our and while many people would be horrified at the death of an animal, the deception of an elderly relative or an apparent attempted fratricide, we seem more than happy to admit to a roomful of strangers our misdemeanours if enough time has gone past.
I’m reminded of a recent confession of an audience member at our show that she had been innocently playing with a friends pet mouse, some time elapsed that she does not recall and eventually a very much deceased rodent companion was presented to the friend. She insisted that she does not remember killing the furry creature but nor could she provide sufficient evidence to exonerate herself. A case of loving too much? The best laid schemes o’ pets an’ owners gang aft a-gley as Rabbie Burns nearly said.
Another confessor admitted in writing that they, at birthdays and Christmases would take ornaments from the shelf or mantelpiece of their Alzheimer’s sufferer grandmother and wrap them up to present them as shiny new gifts. Cunning? Yes. Devious and cruel? Perhaps. But can you sit there and honestly say that, reading it, there isn’t a part of you that thinks it’s one heck of a good idea?
There was, of course, the confession that a young lad, in retaliation to being playfully stabbed (!) with a fork, took an ashtray and repeatedly bashed his brother’s head with it until an ambulance was called. Written with such joy and candour that he almost had us convinced it was normal behaviour.
So, what about outside the friend and family circle? What about the wider community? Surely none of our discerning audience would have committed massive damage to public property? Not unless someone had, say, admitted to setting fire to a local park when playing with a stolen lighter and blaming it on an entirely fictional “skinhead” when the fire engines turned up, long after they’d legged it. But that couldn’t have happened… could it?
But it does seem that we do the craziest things just to avoid admitting we might be wrong. A recent confession we received was from someone who was highly insistent that they had broken their wrist and once told that they would not be given a cast as the injury wasn’t so severe they punched a wall in order to “break it all the way”. I’ve been embarrassed about being wrong before but that’s something else!
But nothing quite beats the state of mind you get into trying not to lose your cool or seem fallible in front of a new partner. One female audient confessed to having somehow burnt her bum with a cigarette whilst lying beside her new fella. Despite her obvious distress she didn’t want to let on her pain and so laughed it off as nothing. She didn’t want “to appear like an amateur, after all!”
So if there’s anything to be learned from all of this, this would be it: got a past indiscretion weighing on your mind? Write it down, put it in a bucket and let The Maydays redeem you.
The Maydays: Confessions – 14:20 – Belly Laugh, Underbelly Cowgate, 1st – 25th Aug (not 13th)Tagged in: edinburgh festival
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