A Fairground

The fairground is an oft-used setting for movies since it can serve as a rich visual and allegorical backdrop for a number of themes. These themes are usually sinister, for example, in horror movies, since the juxtaposition of the fairground’s childish appeal with the deprivations of axe murderers reveal some of the ambiguities and anxieties that inhabit our fears and desires.
Instead of using the fairground as the backdrop for a horror story, however, I want to graft themes that concern young adults onto the setting of the fairground. In particular I want to use the fairground as an allegory for the anxieties that haunt young adults as they venture out from school or university into the domain of the ‘real world’. My idea is to have the fairground symbolize the various stages of anxiety a young person might go through as they try to reach a decision about what kind of life they want to lead and to undercut the heavily allegorical presentation of the fairground with elements of black comedy in a low-budget feature film.
The movie Fairground’s theme is about choices and how they’re informed by anxiety as much as they are products of desire. It will focus on three characters, Madeeha, Tom, and Andrew. Madeeha is a second-generation South Asian girl whose ambition is to work as a human rights lawyer in an NGO, Tom wants to be a doctor, and Andrew is a displaced American in Britain who wants to work in the City or on Wall Street. The three characters are caricatures of young professional ambition and the fairground is designed to challenge their assumptions about what it takes to achieve success. The movie thus moves from fairground attraction to fair ground attraction. For example, the rapids ride challenges each of the characters about how much control they feel they have about their lives, while the mud-wrestling pit would have each of the characters face the personification of everything they hope their life won’t turn out to be. The climax takes place in a haunted house where each of them faces the fears that plague their individual decisions. At the movie’s conclusion, the three characters run from the fairground, but as they look over their shoulders, the place has vanished.
The movie’s appeal would primarily be for a 16-30 year old, university-bound or post-graduate audience whose attention would be held by the representation, on screen, of some of the things they face or have just recently faced. As for the black comedy aspect of the film, by caricaturing ambition, for example, by pitting Andrew the Wall Street man against a file cabinet in a mud-wrestling match, I think it gives the audience a little room to laugh – a little uncomfortably – at what success means in terms of the stereotype of the young, urban professional.
The aim of the movie is to catch the eye of young people with an allegorical version of their lives that attempts to get at what it means to choose. The catchphrase of Danny Boyle’s movie, was ‘Choose life’, but the catchphrase of Fairground should be ‘What kind of yuppie life should I choose?’