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Thursday 21 March 2013

Future Cinema: Casablanca

Hey there! Sorry I've been amiss at my updates, life has been busy! Something pretty cool happened that I have to tell you about though, Mr Heyday and I were invited along to see Casablanca, care of Future Cinema! (Even though I have a blog, I'm pretty small in the scale of things and don't often get invited places, so this was pretty exciting)

The Future Cinema concept is that you as an audience become part of the live acting out of the film and witness the scene as it unfolds around you. I hadn't been to one before and was actually a bit nervous! 
My matching hat and bag finally got an outing - do you like?
 Happy is a big blue suit
Casablanca, in case you don't know the plot, is set in the middle of wartime, in (you guessed it) Casablanca., where everyone is hoping and waiting to get travel documents allowing them to flee to the safety of the States

Casablanca residents being searched and their ID cards checked, done in a  funny way. (But you could also see how it wouldn't be funny in real life - I did NOT want to bump into that official at all)
We received our identification cards and found that we were playing the part of an Italian couple and we both needed to wear a neckerchief to identify ourselves. This posed a few costume changes as it isn't something that either of us wear much of and we had to raid my scarf drawer to find something suitable. Of course it had to match, and be appropriate to the era too. Also Mr Heyday had that problem of what to do with his tie - to tie or not to tie. We settled on a scarf that looked a bit like a dinner suit scarf for him and a flouncy tied number for me. His suit is a zoot suit, clearly, which is more American than European, but Mr was keen to give it an outing (and we knew that not many would be period perfect, let alone location perfect anyway). Wearing a big blue suit meant that he had lots of actors come up and smuggle stuff to him - namely the words of the song we needed to sing.
Heyday Suit jacket worn over a dress, Vintage hat, flouncy scarf
I was initially a bit flummoxed by the dress code - why was I supposed to be in day clothes? I hadn't seen the movie for a long time and forgot that the female characters were all in suits and day dresses throughout the movie. Also it helped that you could then distinguish the actors (in more evening attire) from the other punters.
Ilsa Lund and Victor Laszlo meet Captain Louis Renault
We brainstormed our Italian a little, and I did use it once..."Mozzarella, cappuccino, pizza, Vienna, Bella!" was about my limit with only 2 mins prep! ha ha - a bit lame! It got a laugh though, so that was ok.

The playing out of the film was fun to see, it did though bring home a bit of how it actually was to be living through a war. One of the police forced a man to crawl up and down the steps and the closeness of it was a small shock. It was short and not everyone would have seen it, but I felt I should warn you. I accepted it as part of the drama but I will remember the impact for life - which I am actually grateful for. The surprise and process of registering what was happening made it very real, something I would not have got if it had been played out at a distance on stage or on film. You should also know that I have a "R" rating of about 5 and feel stuff quite deeply. (We have a censored draw of dvd's at home that are not for my entertainment)

According to Wikipedia, the movie itself was made up of a large proportion of European exiles and refugees among the extras, and for them it was quite emotional to be involved. Ironically the German citizens were cast as the Nazis from whom they had fled. That must have been hard.
The Nazis arrive
Trouble Brews
Mr Heyday had a dance with the blonde, but he can't have been looking at her hair colour as he forgot which one it was!
You can see there was plenty of entertainment. All in all, we really enjoyed it and will thoroughly recommend it. It would be great as a large group or as just a couple. If you have any interest in WWII then you will get even more from it.
We liked the Casablanca but not the Sandy Collins
Some points to note:
  • You do need cash for the bar and for the food. The food is quite moderately portioned, so best not to go hungry (we were grateful for half a chocolate bar and a bag of nuts left in my bag from the day before!)
  • The cocktail bar (either side of the stage) is different from the main bar (the one with purple lights) and does take card (had we known this, we would have saved our cash for food).
  • If you are up for dancing, you will be dancing on carpet (not a deal breaker, but some dancers like to know this).
  • You do see the film at the end - we weren't too sure so I was glad to have taken my glasses.
  • Do take something to barter with when Ugarte comes around offering to find you transit papers. I had a string of beads stuffed down my bra but promptly forgot and was concentrating so much on his accent I didn't get that he wanted money or similar - ha ha!
  • If you gamble at the roulette table you can put something else down as collateral - our table companion put his cufflinks down and won a bar of chocolate, AND got his cufflinks back. (Had we realised this earlier I could have put my beads down, hungry as we were!)
  • When you book, you get told you have "booked a table" but when you get in there it is a free for all and you just find a place - or so it seemed. We sat in the front of the stage, near the middle stairs (because we knew we would dance) and had a good view of the proceedings.
  • A few were not dressed up at all and it didn't seem to matter - but they did look out of place
  • It appeared that many people were told to wear a neckerchief and it never came up in the "play" so I'm not sure that matters either.
  • Do take your papers though! You need to provide your fingerprint (scribble on your finger and press) and a photo (some people drew theirs).
  • It is warm in there, I was glad to have worn a dress (for dancing in) so I could take my jacket off and cool down. It is, after all, Casablanca.
Moroccan dancers, all female!

It was an amazing day out - something quite extraordinary different. I look forward to seeing what Future Cinema does next! 

Shona x


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