Friday, May 1, 2015

My Night As An Actor

Theatre Review

The Confidence Man
Showing at State Theatre Centre 30th April - 10th May
CLICK HERE: More Info & Tickets

 An update on this play... 
My husband as Sam (a not very nice old man)
   I returned this week to watch, instead of participating as a character. My husband went into the head as character Sam. It is just as much fun to watch and quite the revelation when you see parts of the story you obviously couldn't have seen while only hearing your track. For instance, when I played Susan and end up in the lounge at the end, kneeling while a gun was held on me, I thought the cushions were on the floor for us to kneel on (I know, pretty stupid thought). They were actually thrown on the floor, for a whole other dramatic reason, which was fun to realise.
   My husband had a ball playing a character, and there were still news things he learned about the storyline, which he hadn't known before, even though he'd watched last week. A really fantastic theatrical experience that I highly recommend. I hope it gets another run somewhere. I think the word has been slow to spread  in Perth as there were a few spare seats at this performance. Next time round, I think a lot of people will be lining up to experience this unique mode of storytelling. Bravo to the producers. Bold and brilliant, indeed.

My original review as an actor in the play
This is me as Susan!
   You can't get more audience interactive at the theatre than with The Confidence Man. The audience are actually in the play! This innovative theatrical performance is so clever and so fun it should be illegal. 
   We knew we were in for a good time, as we descended the steps to the basement theatre at the State Theatre Centre, when we were greeted by a group of twenty-somethings who exclaimed excitedly they'd just attended the six-thirty performance and it was the "best fun."  Four of them had been in the play. They were so enthusiastic, I thought to myself, When would I ever get an opportunity to be in a play? So I promptly nominated myself to be a character. The only downfall being,I wouldn't get to watch or appreciate the whole storyline. My husband would have to fill me in later. There was a real air of excitement as the audience and the characters awaited the beginning of the play.
   Play participants are taken downstairs and briefed fifteen minutes before. We are still told nothing about the play; it's more about what to do if technical difficulties occur. So if you want to be a character, get there at least thirty minutes before and make yourself known to an usher near the door of the theatre. 
   The six participating audience members wear headsets underneath their big costume heads. Each character has his own audio track. As my character was Susan, yes, Susan, I would only hear her track and voice. I needed to follow the directions on my track, react and respond to the dialogue with gestures and movement, even though I had not idea what was coming up or what was happening elsewhere. 
   It was a lot harder than I expected, in fact. You don't know where anything is; you don't know the storyline; and you have a big head on. We were told not to worry if we made mistakes. That was the partial entertainment value for the audience, watching people goof off and over-act. I felt like I wasn't doing very much, while everyone else seemed to be gesturing and playing their role so well. My husband assured me, though, that I did a good job. You see, I had forgotten when I saw the others waving their arms around and putting hands on hips that they had their own separate track telling them what to do. As did I. You are kind of on auto-pilot while listening, so I didn't even realise I was gesturing and acting as much as I was.
   Each watching audience member is given a smart phone and headset, and they follow the story by switching between the six character's monologue tracks. It's easy to do as the phone screen has six heads relating to the six characters. You simply press the character to hear their track.  So while I'm chatting to my daughter character, Anita, the audience could choose to listen to the track of the baddies, or my husband character, Peter's track.

  The show is only an hour long, but a lot happens within the story in an hour. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. So much so, I'm going back again to watch the show and so my husband can experience being one of the characters.
  My husband enjoyed watching it as well, and I found it interesting afterward that I had to ask him what had actually happened, because while I was in the story, I missed the ins-and-outs of how the story progressed to the finale and how the plot was resolved.
   The play was created by Perth's own award winning Side Pony Productions, and I take my hat off (or should that be my head off) to these young playwrights and actors who came up with such a clever idea. I hope they create another story using the same concept.
  Try and get along to this event. You will be talking about it for a long time after, especially if you dare to become one of the characters. It's not expensive, and it's always a fabulous experience to visit the State Theatre Centre. Grab a meal in Northbridge after and make a wonderful, memorable night of it. Thank you to Perth Theatre Trust for our tickets, which were given in exchange for an honest review. I honestly loved it! 

What's it about 
Presented by Perth Theatre Company Created by Perth’s award winning Side Pony Productions and featuring vocal performances by some of Perth’s finest actors, this interactive audio experience places you at the centre of the action. When a bag full of cash is brought into Peter’s very ordinary home, his family finds themselves caught up in a sinister and disturbing chain of events. You are invited to step onto the floor and into this gripping thriller, experiencing first-hand the sordid betrayal and moral philandering that’s about to smother this suburban dream. Six audience members, equipped with masks and headsets, are guided through the story, experiencing events first hand. Those who prefer to watch can survey the action from the perimeter, eavesdropping on the characters’ most private thoughts and conversations.

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