Edinburgh Fringe 2009
The Event starts out as a laugh a minute deconstruction of theatre – the play, the actor, the audience, reviewers, technicians and all – and ends up taking apart 21st century life. John Clancy’s wonderfully written script and impeccable direction and David Calvitto’s assured performance make this a must-see show. Catch it if you can get a ticket.
The Event: strangers in a darkened room, a man saying words he has memorised before, making movements he has been directed to make, with lights switchiing on and off at predirected times. So many shows in Edinburgh this year play with the idea of the fourth wall, but the Event demolishes it straight away only to let us know that it never disappeared at all.
Right from the outset, David Calvitto tells us how the conventions of theatre work but warns us that he won’t be observing many of them in his show. From there on in, he never lets us forget that we are watching an event that is carefully constructed and orchestrated, that we are strangers in a darkened room watching a man speak words that are not his own accompanied by actions which similarly are not his own. That we have “arrived here today by chance and advertising, the way we arrive at lots of things today”
But just as we begin to wonder if how much longer a theatre show can sustain the joke of deconstructing itself, The Event takes a twist into darker territory. David Calvitto muses on how time and space in 21st century life seems to have concertinaed. Connectivity and interactivity are the buzzwords of today so how come we seem more isolated and less connected to each other than ever before? Rather than entering into the usual theatrical state of suspended disbelief, the Event is a wake-up call not just to theatre or this play but to how we connect to each other – or fail to – and ultimately to how we live our lives today.
Previously, John Clancy and actor, David Calvitto have brought to Edinburgh such accomplished and award-winning shows as Fatboy, American Absurdum and Horse Country. Apparently, last year, John Clancy took it on himself to see every one-man show on the Fringe – no mean task – and came away reckoning that he could write something better. He wasn’t wrong.