The College Chronicles: Year 1, Part 1 – “On the Fringe”

Welcome, friends, to the College Chronicles. I like alliteration. That’s how I choose the title for 97% of my artistic endeavors. If it alliterates, it’s a winner.

I skipped three full reminders to post on my blog in the past week, so we’re already going strong on the “write during the break” resolution.

Anyway! The first story from my semester for your perusal.

Since I am a theatre major, several of my classes required that I attend various shows in the areas surrounding the school. The first of these requirements was to attend a play festival (called “The Fringe Festival”). Any show of our choosing, so long as it wasn’t a one-man show (it’s harder to critique one-man show as any other kind of play – they’re a whole different theatre beast).

So a friend and I chose a play – a two-man show – called “Guards at the Taj.” It was described as a funny bromance-type story investigating the “little guys” of history, following two royal guards who were guarding the walls surrounding the nearly finished Taj Mahal.

Long story short, it was about the legend surrounding the Emperor who had the Taj Mahal built that said he had every worker’s hands cut off so nothing as beautiful as the magnificent building – a shrine to his late wife – could ever be built again.

Any guesses as to who had to cut off the hands of all those workers?

Why, that would be the two guards we met in the first scene.

Let me tell you – while there were funny moments and there was a bromance, it was NOT THE LIGHTHEARTED COMEDY WE SIGNED UP FOR.

It was dark, violent, and desperately sad. You saw the deconstruction of the joy and hope in the one guard and the solidification of harsh anger in the other, and, ultimately, their friendship completely disintegrates. To add insult to injury, the hopeful guard’s life is ruined (if not over – the ending leaves whether or not he’s alive rather ambiguous).

So, we did NOT LEAVE LAUGHING. We bawled, covered our eyes for good chunks of the story, and left in a bit of a funk.

To the credit of the two actors, it was marvelously done. It was a good show, there’s no doubt about that. It’s just not exactly what we were expecting when we went in there.

So there’s a fun little story for your Christmas season! It was one of the first things I did after getting to school – like, first two weeks of classes. It was one heck of a first show to see, but getting there and back was a whole different beast.

Neither the friend I went with or myself have a car, and it was so early in the year that we weren’t good enough friends with any car-owners yet to coerce anyone to give us the almost hour-long ride to the venue.

So we went on a two-and-a-half hour ODYSSEY (both ways) on public transit to get there, which was almost as much of a bonding experience for us as watching the play itself. Phones died, it started raining, toes were stepped on, cards were declined – it was all that and a cherry on top, but we got there on time and home … eventually. So it all worked out.

And we both gained a significantly better understanding of the public transportation at our disposal, so that’s been good.

More in the College Chronicles later. If I don’t write before then, Merry Christmas, my pals.

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