Camden Fringe 2008
The Rival Theate Comapny
Venue: Etcetera Theatre
A world record attempt lasting 3 seconds Hello is an ‘…in depth analysis of the commercialised and existential post-Modernism that permeates 21st century life…’ or ‘ …a total pile of crap! I want my 3 seconds back!..’ you decide. Hello is a clean, well put together piece of theatre. It is sparse and yet has a energy about it and sense of completeness.
On August 15th 1999 an attempt was made to beat the Guinness World Record for the shortest ever play. Samuel Beckett’s 30 second production Breath was staged in 1969 and held the Guinness World Record for the shortest ever play until August 15th 1999, when an attempt was made to beat Beckett with Anu, a play lasting 24.13 seconds. In 2008 Hello, written and directed by Rival Theatre Company’s Frazer Brown and Hugh Jeego, sets out to beat these two previous leaders by miles in the attempt to be the worlds shortest ever play. Hello is 3 seconds long and as a result is the only free event in the Camden Fringe Festival.
Travelling for an hour to catch this little beauty surprisingly it was not disappointing. Hello is a clean, well put together piece of theatre. It is sparse and yet has a energy about it and sense of completeness. The audience leave both wanting to perhaps know more, but satisfied by the fact that Hello has a clear beginning middle and end. If anything really this production could do with being cut slightly, as the actor playing the soldier takes a few too many steps. Perhaps with a few shaved off the piece would have flowed with more precision and would have acted as a preventative measure for being beaten by other world record attempts.
The programme clearly states that this is a world record attempt lasting 3 seconds. Hello is an ‘…in depth analysis of the commercialised and existential post-Modernism that permeates 21st century life…’ or ‘ …a total pile of crap! I want my 3 seconds back!..’ you decide. This fact is not mentioned as the audience walk up the stairs, nor is it suggested before the play begins, which makes the ruse all the more entertaining. The Etcetera Theatre is above a pub and the fringe box office has managed to round up a good crowd to see Hello at every performance, which is a mighty good effort.
The theatre was full and although some were baffled by the fact that it turned out to actually be 3 seconds long just as it stated in the programme, one non regular theatre going audience member was keen at the end to offer up his house as a rehearsal space for the project. I definitely don’t want my three seconds back and would see this little beauty again, not only for the quality of the performance, but for the audience reaction alone!