Pittsburgh Fringe 2018
We all have dreams and aspirations, goals we want to achieve, a check list of accomplishments we are working through. But what happens when the voice in our head begins to question our ambitions? Will we rise to the challenge or shy away and hide in the shadows? Dean Temple takes us on a fantastical journey through finance and farce, ballet and boardrooms, with a few musical stops along the way.
One of the wonderful things about Fringe theatre over and above the opportunity to see great new writing, innovative storytelling, and productions from all sorts of inspirations and influences, is the chance to seek out something unknown and be rewarded by a hidden gem.
Dean Temple is an engaging guy. Right from the moment we stepped into the basement space at the Unitarian Universalist Church we felt as if we were part of something – even if we didn’t quite know what it was. The space, as you might expect, was set up with the obligatory pipe and drape and plastic chairs, but there was something intangibly different hanging in the slightly musty air. For a second or two I felt myself feeling a little like the kid at the beginning of ‘The Princess Bride’ waiting for his Grandpa to start reading the story already. Temple, in his searingly honest yet self-depreciating way, entertains as more people arrive singing covers, strumming his guitar, and even throwing in an original composition or two and before you know it you’ve organically become a part of the show which started five minutes previously.
We all have moments of doubt, questioning ourselves and wondering if we shouldn’t just pack it all in and move to Florida. Moments when we find ourselves wondering what in the heck we are actually doing with our lives and how did we think we could do this thing anyway. Our own personal ‘Voice of Authority’ challenging us on a daily basis. Temple has grabbed this psychological bull by the horns, wrestled it, ridden it around, and despite being thrown off a few times, successfully wrangled it into something like submission. “What would you be willing to give up to reach your goal?” Temple asks. And it’s a good question. What would you, what should you, what could you actually give up? Is there one thing you’d be willing to part with in order to get what you are striving for? And when you get what you think you want will you really be happy? Voice of Authority explores these issues with Temple playing a host of characters from his own life story with flair and humor as well as good dose of humanity, not forgetting that pesky voice in his head second-guessing his every move.
If there was anything I wanted to see here it was a little more energy in the storytelling from Temple himself and more musical elements. The show is billed as a comedy solo show with music and we certainly have a good helping of comedy and masterful solo performance but I’d have loved some more songs to be included. This is perhaps a personal preference and not a reason to shy away from this entertaining and thought-provoking show. Don’t let your voice of authority tell you anything but check this out if you get a chance.