This event I attended as part of the Next Wave Festival, heavily marketed and funded, was, albeit a fun couple of my weekend hours, not quite the blockbuster event that one would expect. I’ve been attending plenty of weddings of late, and, with a few glasses of ‘champagne’ in me, I loosen up, prance around and completely embrace this contrivedly organized formal adult party with other people who have taken more effort than ordinarily so to groom themselves and accessorize (and may even have washed for the event.) How is this paid event different?
Marriage, indeed, is rapidly receiving a bad reputation; And though people continually sign the papers and insert those ominous wedding bands onto the other’s fourth finger, they do it cautiously. When JRR Tolkien wrote ‘one ring to rule them all,’ he may as well been alluding/ issuing a waring to the formidable and inescapable power of marriage.
Love, of course, places people in momentary spells where they are overcome with a flood of emotions, and out of the insecurity of losing the other, simply must insist on knowing that this person will belong to them and no other. Forever. Which a wedding formalizes, under the judgmental eyes, allegedly, of this idea of ‘God,’ which has done more harm than good in the historical breadth of humanity.
As I write, (on a paper notebook on a train, incidentally, on the way to see the Grace Kelly exhibition in Bendigo,) I’m listening to the soundtrack of The Fantasticks, a 1960’s musical (thus the inappropriate song celebrating the excitement of a potential ‘rape,’) about the delusions of romance, which was, incidentally, the world’s longest running musical. In Act 2, of course, the lovers, having endured hardships and have ultimately become a comfortable pair, start to discover the little negatives in each other–
‘Their moon was cardboard, fragile, it was very apt to fray. And what was last night’s scenic may seem cynic by today.’
Although I didn’t, regrettably, get to see much at this year’s Next Wave Festival, I think Shotgun Wedding was the most cleverly satirical piece here that is provocative, topical, induces thought, and, above all, the most fun I’ve had in a church. Ever.
Shotgun Wedding, though neither self conscious nor didactic, ever so subtly suggests that the wave of emotions you feel at that particular wedding may possibly be horribly superficial and, though genuine at that very moment, is not everlasting. Nonetheless, it presents a very nuanced duality of the argument for the Next Wave audient to consider. This is what the Festival is all about.
No Show is a bold company that considers what it is to be Queer in this day and age. Do I feel that gay people should get married? Well, yes, of course. They should be allowed the romance, the silly promises, the heartaches, the false sense of security, the fairytale that those over-commercialized Disney princesses got to live.
Because no matter how much we tell them that forever isn’t really worth it, that glimmer of hope, really, is all one needs; We’re all inherently human, and emotionally impractical.