Saturday, November 23, 2013

Courtyard Playhouse inaugurated with first ever MENA Theatresports

The Courtyard Playhouse, Dubai's landmark community theater and studio space, has been a venue for rehearsals and workshops for months. Those of us who took part in these activities saw floors, ceilings, walls, partitions, seats, fittings, lights and flats appear, one by one, week on week, as artists and donors* contributed their time and money* towards putting the place together.

Don't it look swankayyy?

This weekend, the Playhouse finally opened its doors to the public with a double act, double show, double night theater event. Most aptly, this event happened to be the first ever Theatresports event in the MENA region, put on by the first ever recognized Theatresports member organization in the MENA region - Drama Dubai.

Why, yes, that is me on the left

I and six other live improv neophytes, followed by six of the more experienced troupe members, competed with each other in teams of three to four, hoping to win the audience's favor and the coveted shrub of glory (no, really, it was a shrub) with our improvised games and scene work. I was fortunate to be part of a great team, which, win or lose, made the experience as fun for me as I hope it was for the audience.

With our grand entrances and costumes, good-natured rivalry, and outrageous scenarios in mundane settings, we had ourselves a whale of a time.

So did the successive full or near-full houses of cheering, yelling, laughing and otherwise involved audience members, it would seem. Technically, almost everything went much smoother than I would have expected for a first-time run of back-to-back unscripted shows.

The rest of the cast during the techs

I'm so proud to have been a part of this; it was history in the making that we witnessed over the last couple of nights, and it's only the beginning.

* The Drama Dubai team has thrown herculean effort behind getting the space working well enough and looking good enough, starting from practically scratch, so patrons could enjoy the experience of a real theater in the heart of Al Quoz. Because of all the resources that went into making it look and feel good at the audience-facing end, there are still a few things to finish backstage, which is where we still need a little more financial assistance. Click here to see how you can help, and to see the neat rewards donors can receive.

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