Thinking & Feeling

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” Horace Walpole

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Warm & Fuzzy

Is how I am feeling today. Quietly contemplative, comfortably numb, relaxed, content and drowsy.

I had a long and busy week, what with a pretty full work schedule and then it being Griffin's birthday with associated cakes, dinners and general celebrating and Grade 1 orientation and and and. In fact I was so fully scheduled I didn't manage to fit a single run in all week. VERY unusual for me!

By the time work ended on Friday I was almost ready to just go to bed. The guys at work decided after-work drinks were definitely the order of the day, and tempting as that sounded - and it really did - I decided I'd better just go collect the boys and head home. That way I could go for a run. I realised I needed that more than a drink. And besides I had plans for the evening already.

So I got the boys sorted out and then dashed off for a quick 6km slog in the wind, via Sportsman's Warehouse so I could register for the Landmark's Fun Run which I am running on Sunday. They had no record of my entry. Crap, but I'll run it anyway. It's not as if they issue results for the fun run anyway. After the run I had 10 minutes to shower and get myself ready and then I had to drop the boys at cubs, where after they were spending the night with their dad.

I then took a slow drive through to Kalkbay to go see the show Rumpsteak.
In his inimitable style Gaetan Schmid, who trained with Jacques Le Coq, dishes up a sizzling hot new show; a staggering behind-the-scenes look at a French restaurant. Fresh staging and explosive theatre are sure to satisfy. Bon appetit!

"RUMPSTEAK " is a one-man show about the everyday drama in a typical French restaurant. Speaking only French, and
confining his movements to one square metre, Schmid plays multiple characters. As if that isn’t challenging enough, he uses no props. Instead, over 800 sound clips populate his performance and aid his transitions from one character to another. Every imaginable restaurant sound, from the splicing of knives to the squealing of boiling lobsters, accompanies his spatially-limited performance.

Schmid says the show is like a good book in that it encourag
es the audience members to use their imaginations. “I give the audience hints and leave them to finish the picture. One person might imagine a character as having a beard, for example, it is a show that people are able to see differently,” he says. Starring Gaetan Schmid & directed by Rob van Vuuren
Reviews follow:
A successful restaurateur, like a good hotelier, usually has a well developed theatrical streak. The Belgian born and Paris Ecole Internationale de The√Ętre Jacques Lecoq trained comic Gaetan Schmid takes this to another dimension with his latest one man performance piece, Rumpsteak.

Playing a myriad of characters, each of which become quickly identifiable by their specific comic trait, Schmid takes the audience on a 35 minutes roller coaster racing to and fro between the chefs in the kitchens and the waiters at the tables. Performed entirely on a small cube, using only a limited number of familiar French words and miming to over 800 audio clips compiled by sound designer extraordinaire James Webb, Schmid’s performance is a master class in split-second comic timing. It’s a marathon feat that leaves one slightly frazzled, as after a good tickle.

Belgian-born Gaetan Schmid is a completely engaging actor. Watching someone run on the spot has never been quite so riveting and, although there is no scenery, save his tiny square stage, he keeps the audience chuckling for the entire duration of Sex Machine.

But his witty and clever warm-up routine is just a hint of the talent to follow.

Rumpsteak is a behind-the- scenes look at a French restaurant. Schmid paints a vibrant picture of a bustling kitchen and refined dining area using nothing but body language, smatterings of French and an extensive backing track of sound effects.

It's no lame party trick either - he has perfected his timing down to the very last plink of ice in a glass and click of a ballpoint pen.

There are more than 800 sound clips throughout the show, which fill in the colour. The original sound effects are fantastic, from the coffee percolator to the meat slicer.

If keeping in sync with the razor-sharp knives and squealing lobsters weren't enough, Schmid also portrays the entire staff complement of the restaurant with flair.

All the characters are there, from the chef trying to keep things running smoothly, to the seemingly psychotic butcher, to the flirty attractive waitress, to the camp perfectionist and his chocolate delicacies .

There are the usual stresses of working in a restaurant kitchen, the banter between staff, secrets best kept hidden, unreasonably demanding customers and, of course, a guest who brings the entire kitchen to a standstill.

He takes on each character with aplomb and portrays them perfectly. At times it's like watching a man possessed by the entire cast of a crazy French cartoon. Perhaps that's what makes his performance so instantly enjoyable - the cartoon-like zaniness of his behaviour. His body language and facial expressions are often hilarious in themselves, even without the sound effects to round them off.

Schmid is so full of energy it's almost tiring to watch him, not surprising then that this is a remarkably short show, coming in at under an hour.

The one part which could be a bit distracting, especially in such an intimate setting, is that the constant movement and hot theatre lights result in more than a little perspiration on the part of the actor - but then that probably makes his effort seem all the more impressive.

Rumpsteak is definitely an exciting and different performance. The absence of props means every audience member is free to picture the setting and characters differently and it is not long before you forget that all you're watching is one man on a square platform.

It also doesn't matter terribly much if you don't understand more than "oui" in French. Schmid's expressive acting and the clever sound-effects ensure that most of the audience keeps up.
Another review is here.

I had a really really good time. The show was good, the wine was lovely, the company perfect, and the conversation stimulating. I'd say it was pretty much a perfect evening out.

This morning I was of course tired and a bit hung over, but that's the price one pays. The yin & yang of life. Never-the-less I did a long relaxed run/walk with doggie for about 1.5 hours before I had to go collect the boys, and have been relaxing at home since. I think I'll go to bed early to read and wallow in my fuzziness.

Then tomorrow it's a Sparrow's fart start to be in time for the Landmark's Fun Run which starts at 7am. At least it's 5 mins from home. After the fun run it will be home for a quick shower and then off to our work family fun day. Where I am to play cricket and croquet dahlings.


  1. I felt like that yesterday. It's the kind of day where I just play "Drinking in LA" on repeat all day :)

  2. Friday night sounds nice????

    How did the run go?