Natasha Ali introduces us to Ordinary Days, Tone Deaf Theatre Company’s Michaelmas show.
I’m not afraid to admit when I first heard the soundtrack for this show, I really didn’t think much of it. There are so, so many musicals based in New York and Ordinary Days includes a lot of references only city dwellers will understand. The characters were cartoon-like and any emotional themes presented were so cheesy and light-hearted they almost felt cringy.
But then I realised something way too obvious. It’s fun. It’s a fun show. And it tackles something a lot of things don’t. Everyday horrors and panics. Losing all your notes or moving in with your significant other or trying to figure out what the hell you want to do with your life. Stuff every single one of us has or eventually will have to go through. It’s funny that even in somewhere like New York City, everything can still feel like a bubble you have no control over. That reminded me of Durham. And that’s why I wanted to direct it.
The show also regularly mentions and uses art to move the story forward. They visit the Metropolitan Museum and each character is creative in some way. Warren with his flyers and Deb with her books. Jason is implied to be an architect and Claire appreciates wacky abstract pieces. Most productions of this show are done pretty minimally but I wanted to create something a bit more visually interesting. Amber Conway has created some beautiful paintings for the show and each character’s clothes and props have been given a different colour to reflect their emotional state.
Claire and Jason’s dynamic throughout is incredibly interesting. Claire’s big reveal at the end aside, their arc accurately demonstrates the ups and downs of a real serious relationship. ‘Fine’ is the perfect number to show how a couple constantly bickering about beyond stupid things is just a symptom of a much deeper underlying problem in their relationship.
Deb and Warren are much more relatable to students, being younger characters facing all the existential ‘who am I and what will I be?’ questions most of us are probably going through now. Towards the end they sing about never being able to reach their goals but trying anyway. I love that. Because it’s okay to fail and I think every student needs to hear that, especially in student theatre. It’s okay to work hard for something or someone and for it to end up in a complete train wreck of a situation. At our age, none of us really know what we’re doing. Nothing ever stays the same. The important thing is to keep moving forward and not fixate on things we don’t have the control to change.
Negativity is always going to be more interesting than happiness, because you don’t question things when you’re happy. But if you only write about the bad, if you only watch dark entertainment, it ruins you. I’m not saying ignore the sad stories, I know they’re important. I just think there needs to be a balance. And with all the horrifically themed plays we’ve had this term, I think Ordinary Days provides that.
Long story short, this is a fun colourful explosion with awesome actors and beautiful harmonies. I hope people walk out of it feeling a little better about their life. I hope it makes people feel like they’re enough.
Ordinary Days will be presented in the Dowrick Suite, Trevelyan College, on 25th, 28th and 29th November a 7:30pm.