On the 6th May I went to the Hightide Festival with Emrys to watch “The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs”, performed by Mike Daisey.
As we approached the venue I was underwhelmed with it’s appearance. The building looked rather dilapidated, in contrast to the costal town of Halesworth. However, looks can indeed be deceiving because upon entering the venue I feel ashamed for being so quick to judge. The venue itself was very full and lively, as shown in the picture below. The smell of freshly prepared food hits you, and that is where we were immediately drawn.
On the surface, the prices seemed quite high, £5 for a jacket potato, or £4 for a cheese sandwich, but the menu never stated that the sandwich would come with crisps and a salad, culminating in a enjoyable snack. I am left with only two minor compaints. The first is that the cola we bought was refigerated, but they provided us glasses that had been ontop of the coffee machine, so were rather warm. The second is the lack of seating, although this can be seen to show just how popular both the venue and the range of shows are.
Upon entering the main auditorium, and going round to the front, you are presented with 250 tiered seats, all facing the front of the room. There was no stage, just a table at floor level, upon which was a glass of water, a cloth and a stack of papers. This table would serve to be the focal point of the show, where the story teller will preside.
I do not wish to ruin the show for those who wish to see it, but it is a dramatic, humorous, and plain cut monologue about one man’s dedication to technology, and his gonzo reporting into the working conditions of Chinese factories. The style of presenting is interesting, as there are almost two stories being told at the same time, Mike’s own journey through his life, and his thought provoking discoveries, and the journey of Steve Jobs, giving us a narration of the “visionary arsehole’s” life.
“The agony and ecstasy of Steve Jobs” is an honest and simple story, and while perhaps embellished is not work of fiction, and leaves audiences laughing one minute and questioning their very morality the next. When you enter you never expect to left hard hit and slightly sombre, although this is played with fantastic effect. I seriously advocate anybody who gets the opportunity to see this show, it’s 2 hours you will not regret dedicating.
In the foyer.
Another “show” Emrys and I indulged in was an interactive experience called “Organs of Little Apparent Importance”.
The free experience (with a £10 returnable deposit) has you walking around Halesworth, wearing headphones, allowing you to listen in on characters conversations, and presumably following a story.
The term presumably is used because, although the concept was highly original, I personally felt the narration was disjointed at best, and completely incoherent at worst. One minute you are hearing a man discuss his holiday plans, and the next you are eavesdropping on an amateur stargazers midnight liaison with a reoccurring female character. While it was a fantastic excuse to walk around the town, rather than explore all there was to see in the town, we found ourselves eventually returning to the same spots, after working out that we had in fact gone the wrong way, which leads me to another problem. The “story” has you following the instructions of a man apparently on a phone, but at times you were in essence left to try and guess where you were going, for the instructions were less than clear. This minor issue unfortunately caused the premature end of our walk, for we went the wrong way, and paused the mp3 players to correct our mistake, only to have them reset themselves at the beginning of the hour long talk. Fast forwarding unfortunately proved futile, so we were forced to abandon it.
I really enjoyed the concept, and feel if a bit more thought went into it then it would have been so much better. An idea proposed by Emrys would be to have a tour guide taking round groups of people, limiting the potential for going wrong, and also makes you stand out less. This is not an experience I think I would be comfortable doing on my own – you just look a bit odd.
As previously mentioned, the Hightide festival was being held in Halesworth, with our show hosted at The Cut. The journey from Bury St Edmunds took the best part of an hour 15 minutes by car, and would have taken nearly double that by train. This I feel is quite restricting for a young person, and I personally probably wouldn’t have gone out of my way to travel to such a remote location. I was informed that a day bus is organised from London, and I cannot help but feel a similar thing held from Bury/Cambridge/Norwich would be beneficial to them. It was noticeable that there were not many young people in the cafe, and I did have to question whether this was due to inaccessibility, or if the shows were geared towards the older audience.
It was overall an enjoyable day, offering great food for thought, decent food for consumption and a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. To get the most out of it I would recommend staying down for the weekend and seeing a lot of shows.