29 April 2014

The 24-Hour Experience, part 3


FOLA
24-Hour Experience
29–30 March 2014

Hour #10 Australian Gothic 9 pm

Photo by Ali Alexander

Ok, so we're sitting in the old exercise yard at the Watchhouse of the Old Melbourne Goal. This was where many like those-now-mostly-known-from-Underbelly-etc beat the shit out of each other and it hasn't changed since it was closed in the 1990s.

But we were sitting on our portable seats, eating excellent choc top ice creams and watching a film about convicts in Tasmania.


We then went for a wander through the Old Melbourne Gaol cells. This place was closed much earlier (1929), but it's still a place where people were hanged and it's gently creepy wandering about night and looking at it as art.

Hour #11 Tales from the Laneways 10 pm

Photo by Ali Alexander
This was an unexpected continuation of the stories that started in the Elizabeth Street toilets. It was also a non-photo performance; after all, we don't take photos in the theatre.

I thought I knew all of the tiny laneways in the city; I didn't. And, even the most friendly daytime shopping lanes feel very different in the dark.

Here were stories that we don't always want to see. Stories about people from behind dumpsters, in corners that never see a street cleaner and in front of passers by in the middle of the street, but are still ignored or turned away from. Raw and real enough to confuse passers by, the triumph of this work was that it found compassion and hope in the lives of people who don't have much hope.

Although, my favourite moment was a couple coming out of a club and having no idea what they were looking at. I wanted to call out, "Don't worry, it's just middle class white people watching actors pretending to be druggies and calling it art." God, I love this city.

Hour #12 A Band On Every Corner 11 pm



On the approach to this hour, those in for the long haul were considering breaks, coffee and time out. 

But a group of us were caught in front of St Paul's cathedral where exhaustion led to dancing. Except me, I became bag bitch because I was far too tired to dance. 

There were four bands, but I have no idea if two of them were seen by anyone on the Experience. No matter, as they would have been seen by passers by, which is terrific, but proved that Experience performances needed to be focussed.

Hour #13 The Midnight Hour 12 am


Sadly, midnight was the most disappointing hour. What should have been a celebration of halfway, a farewell to the first 12-hourers and a welcome to the next 12-hourers was a bit blah. 

Getting popcorn from a giant piece of popcorn was neat, but the films being shown on the Fed Square screen didn't fit the mood of exhausted excitement and anticipation of the dark hours that were to come. And the group split up, so we couldn't say goodbyes and pop the party poppers we'd been saving since getting our Experience packs some 12 hours earlier.

Photo by Ali Alexander
But we could now start the count down until the morgue visit and the chocolate supplies bought earlier came into their own.

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