A Melbourne summer pt.2

Last night I managed to kill 5.5 hours in the city by myself, this is how it went down.

I actually didn’t plan to fly solo for a whole night, it just kind of happened. Initially my plan was to meet up with a friend who is moving overseas and have a few drinks with him and his work colleagues but I made the mistake of waiting till I was out the door and on the tram to check his whereabouts and was unable to reach him.

I fished around my contacts list on my phone whilst I was on the tram, indifferent to the thought of actually organising new plans, and ended up at the corner of Elizabeth and Flinders completely unprepared. One of the things I really hate about not having plans is the knowledge that there is actually a lot to do…but I just don’t know about it. On a whim, I jumped on twitter to see if anything was happening in the next hour or so. I found one event that looked okay, but I wasn’t really in the mood for pure comedy, I kept scrolling through my list of options, there were a few markets, some Christmas events and the odd gig but I knew none of the above were a good fit for my mood. And then I found The Mountaintop.

The Mountaintop is a play by Katori Hall on the final hours of Martin Luther King’s life. There are only two characters in the entire play which, for the most part, takes place in a single room. The moment I stepped into the darkened theatre and sank into my restricted view seat I knew I’d made the right decision. The stage was occupied by two beds covered in faded orange sheets, a single lamp and a suitcase. The atmosphere felt muted, slightly oppressive and moody. We are quickly introduced to Martin Luther King who enters the room, hollers at some unseen folk and then slowly shuts the door, creating a space that only he and the audience now occupies. It stays like this for quite a while as he does the things people do when they are alone – shrugging off his jacket, kicking off his shoes and muttering thoughts aloud.

After a while King telephones for room service and we are introduced to the only other character for the entirety of the play, Caeme. Caeme is fiery and outspoken, she compliments King’s conservative and measured personality.

There was never a point in the play that dragged, never a line out of character or a misplaced thought. The characters were consistent and captivating. It’s been so long since I’ve seen a decent play and it reiterated my belief that often the smaller budget, less pretentious shows are the better ones. Nothing quite like a simple stage and good script to separate the wheat from the chaff.

I became pretty caught up in the play and highly recommend it to all you random people who read my blog.

After the play I went for a stroll, stroll is definitely the right word here – I was walking around the city with my hands behind my back looking like a 60+ year old woman navigating through life with her new hip replacement. I wandered across the footbridge and overheard a hilarious conversation between a tipsy middle aged couple that went something like – ‘I’m going to find some mistletoe so I can kiss you’ and the response, ‘you don’t need mistletoe to kiss me’….

I then found myself up at the Bourke St Mall, ducked into Myer, bought some perfume I will now have to remove from my Christmas wish-list and browsed through the Basement. I picked up a handful of things to try on and then remembered my overflowing drawers and quickly put them back.

I caught a tram home, gave directions to a very geographically confused man and somehow didn’t make it home until ten minutes to midnight…

I’ve become super inspired to explore Melbourne this summer and plan to continue my adventures on Saturday. Saturday is most likely going to involve more of the Melbourne Now exhibition, more Melbourne Theatre Company, a house party in Brunswick and Christmas shopping, local style.

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