Edinburgh Fringe 2021
The man walks onstage into the light. He addresses the audience. From there he tells us what he is doing, why he is doing it and what it might, or even might not, mean. From asking us to think about what he is doing to what it is we think we are doing and how the two may converge he meanders through theatricality with little more than a light, a chair and the costume he brought with him, or was handed to him, over which he had no choice. But here he is. Now. Talking. To us. For a whole hour. Delicious.
This is quite simply remarkable. David Calvitto is our guide, mentor, observer, willing participant and performer. From the moment he walks onto that stage we are his. He has a charm and a casual manner which belies an approach that has been painstakingly pieced together over a long time. There are masters at work in all walks of life, and where we get to witness one of them, we feel bathed in their presence. I just sat back and marveled and when I thought I wanted to write something down in case I forgot it, Calvitto moved on and then I was again marveling. He is quite … what’s the word?
Tightly and deftly directed this shows just how good, good direction can be. Each step, movement and nuance of speech is carefully delivered to the crowd with precision. Nothing gets wasted as the effortless ease with which he takes us with him is breathtaking. It is a delivery of a marvelously crafted script, by John Clancy, which is its equal in its awareness of itself.
Actors could learn from this. Lots of actors could learn from this.
The performance is honed. Each pause calculated for our benefit, and this is the sharing aspect of the experience which works so well. After all this is a solo play delivered by an actor deconstructing what he is doing and therefore should drip with self-indulgence and only be of interest to that crowd – the arty bunch, those actors who want to see their craft being, well marveled at. But its appeal is in its simplicity, and what is unsaid.
Called The Event because the event is what it is, it hides behind no special promises or new found or new age nonsense. It is quite simply a walk through what he does. We are not seduced but captivated by the ease and the confidence. If the structure provides opportunity and the direction allows a platform to be built, then the performance tops it all off in astounding fashion.
There have been plenty of superlatives thrown at this because it deserves it. Sitting in that darkened room with my pen poised I felt a sense of being back somewhere truly special. Not just back to live performance but a live performance able to ask itself things and come up not with the clever answers but the honest ones. It is that truth that The Event hints at in its title but then delivers with aplomb in its telling. I was just spellbound during and in awe thereafter. Beg, borrow, sell your children to get a ticket? Maybe not but then again…