Graz is a wonderful city (is it a city or a town?). Every time we are in Graz Lee mentions on stage that it is his favourite city (in Europe or the World?). People think that he is "just saying that" and probably "says that in every city he goes to". Nothing could be further from the truth (actually, plenty of things could be further from the truth, but it doesn't make his statement any less true). Lee White loves Graz. Not that I don't, in fact, I love Graz as well, I just don't boldly claim it to be my #1 (but it is in my top ten).
What does Graz have going for it?
It is a beautiful little city (or biggish town) with enough good restaurants to keep you full. The transit is simple and easy to get around. Everything is close. There is a wonderful mountain to climb right in the middle of town (with the remains of a castle to look at). There is an artificial island in the middle of the river that runs through town. And finally, we have some good friends there (most obviously, Theatre Im Bahnhoff).
An artificial island (pictured in the above picture)
The island was built for the European Cultural Capital "thingy" and is really cool. Now, the city is thinking of getting rid of it (mistake) and I for one am up in arms over this issue. Originally, they were only supposed to have it for one year (the duration of the Cultural Capital "thingy") but then people fell in love with it (understandably) and hopefully it can still be saved (perhaps it is the Winnipeg in me that wants the public to rally around this hopeless cause?). The city already got rid of their famous "elevator to nowhere" which was also built for the Cultural Capital "thingy", the elevator would bring you up to eye level with a statue in town and see the view that it saw (cool). How many other cool art pieces must fall before people realize that they liked them enough to keep them? That goes for all cities, not just Graz.
Theatre Im Bahnhoff create really good work. Weather it is improv (which we like doing with them) or the theatre they put on which is really inspiring. We just really like what they do, and the way they do it. We also have a fellow Canuck in their ranks. Jacob Bannigan defected from the comfort of Edmonton's Rapid Fire Theatre to work with TiB and hasn't looked back (well, maybe has has glanced over his shoulder). What made him defect? Why, the love of a good woman... Trixi and Jacob then fused their love into a little bundle of brains most people know as Lili (but is affectionately known as "the Monster"). Lili will someday rule the world.
In Graz, after having the good fortune of sitting in on a TiB rehearsal, we were all sitting around in their wonderful theatre/complex/headquarters having some drinks and talking about the show and anything else that popped to mind, when there settle a lull in the convo. Within the lull, a new saying/proverb was shared.
"The say that in Russia, any time there is a silent moment in a room, a policeman is born"
(Maybe this is why the Russians will never stop talking?)