A writer sits at a desk and writes about a man who stood in a pool of light in a darkened room and talked about a man standing in a pool of light in a darkened room who talked about writers…and actors and the “professional observers” who watch them and the strangers who sit in darkened rooms wanting to be entertained.
Written to be loved (or possibly resented) by anyone who has sat in a small theatre and watched a show, The Event is uber-meta. It’s so meta that the performer in this performance about a performance, written in the third person, explains that it’s meta.
Does it already sound a bit wanky? A tad self-indulgent and arty-farty perhaps? Of course it is, but this could be the secret to its appeal.
Writer John Clancy is a New York-based producer and director who has spent ten years presenting shows all over the globe. He knows theatre and pours every bit of his love, understanding and cynicism of our strange sitting-in-the-dark world into The Event. Us who watch in the dark know actors whose friendships are maintained by drinking and lying, about having naps during shows (he even helps with a lullaby) and the strange combination of advertising and chance that gets us into the darkened rooms.
Just when we’re comfortably giggling at the time updates, the in-jokes and recognition, The Event reveals its real depth and places the man beyond the fourth wall into a more uncomfortably recognisable world of angst and confusion. This is far more than a funny story about theatre.
Adelaide-based director Daniel Clark and leads actor Nick Pelomis in first Australian production, which they warmed up for us at the Sydney Fringe. (An American version played at the Adelaide Fringe.) This team also know the ironies, frustrations and payoffs of theatre. Pelomis performs like he’s not performing, like The Event was penned for him and he talks to his audience like they are friends whose presence is more important than his is in this darkened world.
The Event is so independent theatre that it will spawn a a wave of imitators in future Fringes, but – like the music theatre gem [title of show] – they will never be as original.
Even if, per chance, you don’t love The Event, you’ll regret it if you miss it.
The writer checks for obvious typos and signs of her own meta wankiness, clicks Publish, before she checks Facebook, links the review to Twitter and hopes that the show she is seeing tonight didn’t start at 6.30.