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Posts Tagged ‘Kings Cross’

Krishna Das was in town a few weeks ago. Two friends and I snagged the last few tickets. We followed the trail of flowing skirts and mala beads from Kings Cross St Pancras to the Camden Centre to find a rockstar style line. Actually there were two lines. One was for the VIPs; the special guests, studio owners and teachers who had front row tickets, and another line for us plebeians. I chuckled to myself at the incongruence of yogic chanting and VIPs.

We entered the building, settled on three seats together at the middle left of the hall and waited for KD to take stage. Whew, that was hard work.

As the building began to fill, the room became hotter and hotter. The girl in front of me opened a garlicky take out rice and began to eat. We tried our best to hold our collective yogic cool, but everyone was having problems. The girl behind us began to fuss over jackets being hung on backs of chairs and we were all trying our best to try and accommodate one another. The chanting desperately needed to begin.

Finally KD entered the stage with Radhanth Swami, an American Swami whose book, The Journey Home, we had all been given a copy. After some introduction, the chanting began, then stopped so that Radhanth Swami could tell his story. And a big story he had. His tales of love and his times in India were very interesting, but not what the audience had expected from the evening. I tried to pay attention, but the heat was still unbearable and now the garlic was beginning to seep out of the pores of the girl in front of me. Radhanth Swami was describing being stuck on a severely overcrowded train in India where you could not breathe for 12 hours and I made a personal vow always to splurge for first class trains in India. How could I survive that when I could hardly deal with the smells I was encountering now?

Packed house for Krishna Das at the Camden Centre

Finally Krishna Das took control of the stage and began playing again. It was already too late. One of my friends was in her second trimester and couldn’t take it anymore. We went to the back of the room where a door was left open and ventilation was available.

I am so glad we did because as KD continued to play, we had the freedom to dance, greet others and, well, breathe.

Finally the Kundalini was rising. By the end of the night the group at the back had formed a community, and we were all a little lighter than when we began.

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I know this is a little late as Sadler’s Wells performance of Electric Hotel ended June 26th, but I thought better late than never.

The Electric Hotel was highly recommended on TimeOut and other forums and located in my friend Flora’s neighborhood. I asked Flora if she was interested in going. How lucky for me! She had already made plans to go, was getting discount tickets because she had a large enough group and did I want to join? Of course I did.

As we walked up to the stage, I became tingly with excitement. I have an affinity for the industrial among the natural. I’m not kidding here. A few years ago I impulsively took up welding after seeing the discoloured iron sculptures in the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens.

The Electric Hotel was a temporary structure consisting of shipping cargo crates and set among the beautiful monstrosity of Gas Holder 8, a bit of green space and St. Pancras station in the far far distance.

The Electric Hotel

We were given a set of binaural headphones as we entered that proved to be a major highlight. One actually felt like the splish splash of the rooftop pool was going on behind them. Several times during the evening I looked to my left and right to see where the voices were coming from, thinking “that’s so rude of the audience” only to discover that the noise I was experience was an intentional part of the show.

The audience was given a voyeuristic treat: a look into the private moments of the people staying at the Electric Hotel. This causes the viewer to consider the multitude of events going on simultaneously at any given moment and our limited capacity for absorbing and witnessing them.

The actual performance

The show was put together as a looping plot. Each loop allowed the viewer to grasp another relationship, situation or idea. The loops built upon one another as the characters danced, fought, loved, cried, plotted and eerily established their subconscious psyches. Just as one began to understand the storyline concept, the situation would become a bit more absurd.

At the end, our group left the theatre trying to grasp exactly what had happened. The experience felt poignant, although none of us could entirely agree why.

I look forward to other Sadler’s Wells shows. September 3-11 there is a show just about shoes. With a concept like that, it either has to be awful or genius. Considering my Electric Hotel experience, I’m leaning towards genius.

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