Due to the rising interest of what actually went down during the showing of The Midway, I was asked to write a play-by-play of the 30 minute show. Since I experienced a different way then everyone else, I will be basically explaining the show through my eyes, since it’s hard to say what was going on inside the other actors through their characters.
Well to start things off here’s a list of the characters:
The show is set up as a labyrinth with 10 rooms. The first room is the entrance where the M.C. resides, and the nine other rooms where the performances happen. Although the show is meant to interpret as you will, the nine other rooms are represented as the nine circles of hell.
Now to begin, the audience walks into the entrance where the M.C. welcomes them. She introduces the atmosphere of what to expect (vaguely) and the ground rules. The M.C. was based off of a 50’s mother obsessed with rules and cleanliness. She also gives the audience surgical masks to prevent catching polio. The audience is told to enter the Theater.
The audience sits down in a couple rows and watch a video about photography and polio on a screen. The screen hangs down from a silver proscenium much like a theater. I, the guide, (one of two on duty at the time, I will be referring to the on duty guide as myself for the remainder) am frozen on the side on the screen as the movie plays. Dancer Fate uses string to blocky the entrance of that the audience came in, in very fluid movements. Sometime into the movie, I move in front of the video projection, with light in me, welcome the audience with a sexy feminine gesture. ( I played the androgynous guide.) I then pull the shade to reveal a couple, Singer Fate and Violin Fate. Singer is whispering into Violin’s ear and then kisses him on the cheek. Singer Fate beautiful sings Russian Lullaby as Violin Fate plays the violin. The song is beautifully filling the air as I go over to help Dancer with the string. After the singing is threw, Violin leaves into hallway still playing. Just then, Dancer and myself, invite the audience by taking their hands and leading them one by one threw the theater into the dark hallway, into the Mothers Boudoir.
The Mothers Boudoir, I my opinion is one of the most beautiful and intricate sets in the show. The walls are full of dried up flowers and broken mirrors. In one corner the mothers vanity sits, along side it is the armoire, with an old radio. The room is very small and eerie with the old lamp being the only light. As the audience follows Violin into the Boudoir, Dancer fate floats about the center of the room. Mother is sitting in the mirror of the vanity, and she is applying make-up. I walk in second to last, only to Singer, and relief Violin Fate of his duty at the exit of the room, and I position myself on the armoire. Singer the walks up to Mother. Mother is know reading a love letter that she. After a second, throws to the ground. I look in disgust. She then loses control and writes on the mirror with the lipstick, “Pale Lips”. Singer tries to get Mother under control but fails, due to being out of time. Singer runs out though the exit. Mother is in shock and follows. I scour at Mother as she leaves. Then I stand in front of the crowd and persuade the audience to follow me into the Dining Room.
Dining Room is simply a table with four seats. The table is set up for dinner for four. At the table sits Father, Mother, and Brother, with the other seat empty. All three fates are standing in a line near the table. As I watheir with the crowd. I’m excited at the site of dinner. There isn’t much nice dinners in hell. The audience stands around the dinner table at a distance. Dancer and Singer start circling the table placing the family’s dinner plates in front of them, while Violin plays them a song for dinner. Then the family all pass their plates to each other, as if they received the wrong plates.this continues till the tension in their is thick. I start to lose my excitement, and think something is wrong. The music stops. The family all lift their lids and reveal their “dinners”. The dinner is wet string, the fear that resides in hell. I am disgusted. There is a crush and brother shoots up and leaves the room via the exit. In haste I gather the audience quickly and take me into the hallway, I am walking quickly and checking the walls for the exit to the next room. There is a podium with a camera in the dark hallway. After a coupe turns, I emerge into the Dark Room, with amazement, with the audience.
The room emits an eerie red light. There is multiple strands of string with dozens of WWII pictures hanging crisscross around the room. Brother has his smock and gloves on for processing the film. He is searching, painfully, for certain photos. I am hanging in the back in pain watching him suffer. He brings up five significant photos up to the front for the audience to see. And he steps back to gander at them. Then he ticks and is enraged by the photos. He is obviously suffering for PTSD. He rips down the photos, and stops. He picks up a photo with a young child in it. It’s his younger brother. He holds up the picture to the audience. He then throw it down, and rushes to the Child’s Bedroom.
The Child’s Bedroom is another magnificently set. Each wall is completely made up of old torn and frayed pages of old stories of hell and Greek theater. And burned into the pages are characters from Alice in Wonderland. There is a child’s bed with two nightstands. There’s a chest at the foot of the bed with a spinning lamp that projects more characters from Alice running along the walls. Upset, from the Dark Room, I lead the audience to the Child’s Bedroom. Mother is crying over the bed. We see Brother run over to the left nightstand and grabs the plane resting there. Brother goes to leave when Father enters. Father tries to plea with Brother to stay. Brother looks at father in disgust and leaves. I am torn by this, the absence of love is almost overbearing. I keep it together however, there are more pressing matters to attend to. Meanwhile, the other guide, Knowledge Guide, enters the room and choices one audience member to follow him into a secluded room for a one-on-one performance. I am happy to see my “friend”(we are still in hell), Knowledge Guide, as he comes to grab the special person.
The next two parts happen simultaneously with each other.
In the Child’s Bedroom, still, the Mother is pissed to see the Father. Father tries to comfort Mother, she rejects him. The Mother walks over to a picture of their child, a similar picture to the one Brother held up. She throws it to the ground. And then picks up rosary beads and throws them on the bed. Father jumps on the beads and begins to pray. Mother finds this hilarious, ironic given there situation. At this point it is clear that this family is torn apart by the lose of their child, dying of polio. Father is enraged by the mockery towards him by Mother, and goes to strike her, but stops. She then uses his hand to caress her face. I am furious towards Father for his abuse of his family and the manipulation of love, I hope he gets what he deserves. Father is confused and pissed. He exits the way he came in towards the Father’s Confrontation room.
Meanwhile, simultaneously with the second half of the Child’s Bedroom, Knowledge Guide has taken his chooser audience member into the secret room. The secret room is a magnificent room with branches intertwined with each other and sticking from the ground to simulate a forest. An airy blue light emits the room in a wonderful but spooky atmosphere. There is a twig table in the center of the room, with a glass chess resting on top, with a light shining straight up through it. Knowledge guide seats the chosen member, and verbally tells a story about life and taking and giving, damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Knowledge Guide then decides that these person is worthy enough to receive a carefully placed key. Knowledge Guide gives that person the key, he then escorts the chosen member back to the group who have just entered the Father’s Confrontation.
The Father’s Confrontation is a matted down arena with coat hangers on the corners, and enough space for the audience to stand out side and around the arena. In front of one of the coat hanger there is a tall structure hidden under a sheet. As I take the audience, excitedly, into the Father’s Confrontation to see Father get the beating he deserves, I lead the audience around the arena. Father is standing in the middle of the arena waiting. I walk over to my roll of string and I start wrapping it around the the coat hangers to make a ring out of the arena. I see that the chosen member has the key and I get ecstatic. Dancer Fate then steps into the newly formed ring. Dancer and Father fight through a well-choreographed dance where Father basically gets his ass kicked. Towards the end he swings at Dancer in the corner farthest from the hidden structure, Dancer ducked out of the way. I watched intently. Father was stuck in the corner, and Dancer then walked over and revealed a mirror that was under the sheet. Father continues to defend himself unjustly against the just punishment when he lunges at Dancer who is standing on front of the mirror, Dancer dodges this attack. Now, Father is facing himself in front of the mirror. Dancer floats off having won the fight. The battle is through and Father now sees himself and all his “glory”. Father rushes off towards the exit.
Now that justice has been served, it’s time to utilize our chooses member and figure out what the key unlocks! I lead the audience down long hallways with statues of the Father in his defeat. I am over come with joy to the fact it’s almost over the key is our ticket… I start to stumble as if drunk and I look among the group with awe, as if they know how I feel, then finely, I reach the corner that leads into the Attic. The Attic is a mess of a room, with clutter from the 40’s and 50’s and possible older. As I rush around the corner, all my joy suddenly expels from my body as I lock eyes with Plutus. The audience watches me cripple under the weight of Plutus’ evil glare. Plutus was once a good guide, but has lost his way and is content with Hell, even loves it, and wishes to keep the other guides trapped in Hell. If Plutus’ presence isn’t bad enough, he has the Family all tied up with string, with bags over their heads struggling at an old table left in the Attic. I fall and crawl to a dark corner of the room in fear as Singer Fate is present crippled by fear as well. Plutus makes his way around the table with platter with objects and places the child’s toy plane in front of Brother, ripping his bag of his head. He does the same to Mother, placing a mask, and with Father a crown. Each of them struggles with Plutus taunting them and the object that crippled them in the mortal world. Singer Fate then snaps out of her state, and frantically searches for something in the clutter of the Attic. She then finds a locked jewel chest. She needs the key! She searches for the audience member given the key! They shoot up there hand with the key! she unlocks the box and pulls out…. Scissors. The key to our escape from Hell, and the only thing Plutus fears. Singer jabs at Plutus with the scissors, one two three. Plutus accepts his demise if he lingers and flees, not without a growl of revenge! Plutus is defeated.
There is nothing now to stop any of us from leaving the wrenched. Singer glides to the audience member that saved us. And whispers, “Go back to the light world” while handing them the scissors. I dance around overcome with joy of escape, and recite, “go into the light world” over and over. The exit to the mortal world is block only by string, which the audience member cuts and releases all of us. A faint violin tune fills the air. It’s Violin Fate playing and leading the audience back to the light world! Singer and I see the audience off, back home they go. Violin Fate only asks for the scissor as his tip and the audience is back into the light.
Well I hope you enjoyed reading about mine and others journey through the Midway. It was a fun experience, and I would do it all over again. Hopefully I don’t make you to jealous that you missed! Until next week.
With love and peace,