“But bro, I thought this kind of schtick was meant to be, like, well meaningful?” JAMES MACNAMARA explains why it wasn’t.
Corpus Playrooms 9.30pm 2nd-6th October £6/£5
Dir. Elizabeth Schenk
“Brother, what the hell is devised theatre!?” My child, it is theatre created from nothing, offered to us from the heart. From the soul. “Say what?! I thought that stuff needed scripts and shit. How do these crackers bring everything together, fool!” Darling, calm yourself. It is a collaborative effort between director and performer, utilising the difficult art of physical theatre, improvisation and music to create a world in which time is fluid, emotion is real, and moments can be lived truly and without the constraints of the written script, the writer’s intentions, if you will.
“I geddit. Some fools get together and smoke some, they dance around and get all happy and shit, or sad, and then, what? They make a story or somethin’?” Yes. Yes they do. And it’s a story about love, about loss, about pain. A story that cuts the heart in two, renders the soul – and yet, leaves one uplifted. Elated, even. It really is a magical thing. Now, pass me that doobie and turn up the Wu-Tang, if you please.
One of the highlights of the film Team America is the song ‘Montage’: httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFrMLRQIT_k. It adeptly satirises that bit in sports films when the hero gets really good in a short enough space of time to allow the awesome fighting or whatever that ensues to dominate the film. It suggests a certain flippancy in rendering complex sets of events. Well, I left Interruptionhumming that song in my head. Photograph flash! They’re married. Weird noises made by the cast imitating some actual god machine brrrrrr click click we’ve gone back in time, bro! Holla.
These things are well done. Polished. But they should be, these guys have just done a run at the Edinburgh Festival. And they are well put together, certainly. Singing in harmony is a pain, and these dudes did it on stage and everything.
This story is about loss and love – a couple growing up together, best friends falling in love, and a child dying in a car accident. It’s a poignant tale that is made less resonant by the jumps, the squiggles, the gurgles and everything else that was going on. I’d rather have intense dialogue and beautiful structure than devices. Stories and words are their own devices, no?
However, there are some very talented performers. I was moved occasionally by vocal manipulation and facial ticks that belonged in something much grander, much more realised. Freddie Poulton’s phone call should be shown as a master class in timing and devastating realism. It’s excellent.
“But bro, why was all them dudes wearing tracksuits and shit? They is all well middle class!” Child, they need comfortable clothes to move in, and outfits that do not suggest too strong a character, as they change all the time, such is the nature of devised theatre, my darling. “That shit’s wack bruv! Next week, let’s hit up some Ibsen, yeah? Safe.”