The Curious Voyage–Day Three, Oct. 25, 2018

by Lynn on November 12, 2018

in The Passionate Playgoer

This was the longest day of the Curious Voyage that culminated in a much admired, much awarded secret musical that I can tell you about since it closed on the weekend.

Many of us were in London for this three day adventure. Others partook of the one day adventure.

The events started at 1:00 pm. We were given coloured  arm bands to wear to keep us together  in case we might get lost. We were then broken up into smaller groups. The groups were a mix of people on the three day adventure and others for the one day. Some heard about it from their friends so thought the one day would be fine. We were given Oyster cards, like our Presto Card or New York’s Metro Card. There was enough money on each card to get us a one way trip to the venue of the musical.

Our first instructions were to stay by the hotel we were staying at and ‘not move.’ Our guide would be back after she tended to other groups. She left. We stayed. A burly man, dark hair, beard, smiling approached and said, “Follow me.” Fickle as we were to our first guide’s instructions, we followed him. Just to keep the mystery going, he may or not have been a murderer. He had done time in prison. He explained it was a matter of honour to his family. Well of course I understood.  He spoke about a man who helped him in prison. This name kept coming up in Barrie and in London. No, I won’t tell you his name.

We walked briskly around a park/square. The guy left us and said someone else would come and get us to continue. Over the course of the afternoon we were picked up by mysterious people who may or may not be a woman who spoke only French; another who spoke German; why may have seen someone jump from a window or was pushed; a calm woman took us into the basement of a restaurant and we were asked more questions of morality; another person on the street  spoke Italian and sang loudly and asked us to join in; an employee of a hotel  gave us a tour to a room that was disheveled as if it had been ransacked; and there was a person in the bed, covered up except for his one socked-foot that protruded out of the covers.

He woke to find six people in the room. He didn’t know who he was. He got up. He wore only briefs. His body was covered with the name of the person we were looking for written with a black ‘sharpie’. We might have been given pills to do that poor man in—he did ask us to do it. We are moral people and didn’t. He proudly produced his own bottle of pills to do himself in. I asked with a certain degree of irritation: “Then what are you bothering us for if you have your own drugs??” He didn’t answer. This was a recurring theme: Kill me! I can’t stand life” and us weighing if we should/could do it or not.

We were allowed to eat lunch at a local chain and we got to know each other. All were lovely people. Then the man from the hotel presented himself in different clothes and a different name and lead us through laneways to a bus stop to take a regular double decker bus to the site specific venue of the musical. But first we had one more venue to visit by one of London’s secret canals. There was more role playing: who is lying; who is the real person; we had to choose.

Then back out of the venue, along the canal, trying not to get killed by the cyclists who whizzed by (no I don’t think they were part of the narrative.) We went up another deserted street with strange buildings and a ramen restaurant along the way. We stopped at a derelict building, went down the stairs into the gloom of the place; forbidding, dark, murky lighting, no windows. wonderfully claustrophobic.  I made out characters frozen in a pose, in costumes from a different time. We sat on a bench around two sides of the space. There in a corner was a woman in front of an electric keyboard, a man with a cello and a woman with a violin. The lights dimmed to dark. There was a piercing whistle sound and the first urgent chords of the musical, and I did what I always do when I hear the beginning of Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, I burst into tears.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 BRIAN STEIN November 15, 2018 at 2:43 pm

Hi Lynn

Did I miss Days 1 and 2 of this adventure? I have two friends there on this trip.



2 BRIAN STEIN November 15, 2018 at 2:45 pm

Don’t answer
I found it all.