Photos by Natasha Anstey.
No play is complete without an obnoxious weirdo in the front row who laughs really loudly at everything that could be remotely construed as a joke. Thursday night’s production of Keep it Up, Sisyphus, as part of Bedlam’s Dionysia theatre contest, was no exception to this rule.
Full disclosure: I am a former pageant child-turned-musical-star who fell from grace at a young age. I have been in more crappy community productions of the Wizard of Oz than is respectable. In high school, the beret-wearing Theatre types bullied me with their existential stares, and as a result I have always been intimidated by actual, proper theatre (you know, the kind with no dancing).
But I think I may have actually gotten this one! Set in Northern France during World War II, the story is the Greek myth of Sisyphus spun into a comedy, with a healthy dose of the absurd. I had to google most of the cultural references because I’m a helpless foreigner, but I still really enjoyed myself! It reminded me a bit of Inglourious Basterds, except instead of having any clear story arc, there was a hilariously irrelevant and absurd Greek Chorus, who was inadvertently the star of the show.
In addition to the standout Greek Chorus, Henrik the jolly SS Officer did a fantastic job, and clearly knows how to get the laughs with just a well-timed glance or giggle. There were some ambitious and respectable communism puns: “She wanted to get married, but I kept Stalin”, “Did you find that class to be a struggle?” which really is all I need to be entertained. The show even included a strange planted-audience-member gag, which I think would have been funnier to me if I was familiar with British comedy.