This is the quote projected onto the screen in front of us at the start of Floating and so begins the 90-minute story of Hugh Hughes and his excellent adventure. This excellent adventure is a story that like all personal truths is a combination of memory and imagination where Hugh recounts his experience living on the Welsh island of Anglesey.
Hugh tells his story along with his sidekick Sioned Rowlands - who plays the three other central characters in the story - all the while running around stage operating the various modes of multimedia, from old-school slide projector to power point, that are all part of the storytelling process. This includes a particularly funny sequence where she tries to re-enact Hugh's swimming from the island of Anglesey to the Welsh mainland by ferociously bobbing her head up and down in a tub of water.
It’s one of the those moments that has to be experienced to be explained. Like when you tell a funny story of something that happened to you to another person who wasn’t there and they kind of sit there and look at you with a blank face. Yes, they might find your story amusing but they weren’t there to experience it. So, that particularly funny moment inevitably becomes an inside joke between you and whoever was there with you during that moment.
This is exactly, what I believe happens every night during Floating. The audience together with Hugh and Sioned become party to one giant inside joke that will only exist on that night between those people. You could go see Floating every night of the run and every night what happens between the audience and the performers will be an experience not to be repeated.
I can easily tell you that my face and side actually hurt at one point because I was laughing so hard but it won’t mean a thing to you unless you go see it because most of hilarity of this production comes out of Hugh’s honest and open interaction with the audience. Through his attempt to create connections.
And, through his attempt to create connections with each and every one of us as audience members, we in turn create connections with other audience members. This connection between us all, performer to audience and audience to audience, in the confines of the four walls of the theatre re-affirms for us that sense of community. The sense that we were all part of something special and unique.
I definitely left the performance after last night's Opening feeling as though whatever just happened back in that theatre was something I have never experienced before. It was truly a unique and special moment. And, honestly, it was also just plain funny. You’ll know what I’m talking about if you go see it and get to the part where Hugh gets into his swimsuit and invites the rest of us in the audience to undress as well.
All I really have left to say is that I encourage you to go see Floating so that you too can be part of the inside joke. Because me trying to tell you how funny it is just won’t cut it. You need to have been there.
A Hoipolloi production, created & performed by Hugh Hughes and Sioned Rowlands, Floating will play at the Arts Club New Revue Stage as part of the PuSh Festival until February 5th. Performances run nightly at 8pm (Tuesday’s 7:30pm) except for Sundays with Matinee performances on Wednesday and Saturday at 2pm. A post-show talkback lead by Veda Hille will take place on Tuesday, January 25th.
(photos courtesy of the PuSh Festival)