29
May
12

Something Perfectly Innocent

Ed’s note: Apologies for the late post! I have just emerged from a six year old’s birthday week, which included compulsory school attendance, afternoon teas, family dinners, horse riding, cake baking, the annual Eurovision semi-final living room dance party and the return of three of the six year old’s cousins from their extensive tour with Cirque du Soleil! Then I slept for 2 days. Hence, we only now have the final Anywhere Theatre Festival post from Miss Meredith. Thank you, Meredith! x

Something Perfectly Innocent

Marcus Lilley

10th – 14th May 2012

Delivered via Twitter

Reviewed by Meredith McLean

Earlier this May I sat down to my laptop readying myself for my regular fix of Twitter updates, tumblr posts and Facebook newsfeeds. What can I say? I’m more than comfortable doing this daily, more often than not when I should be doing something more productive. However, I had something up my sleeve this time when my always well-meaning Mum made her weekly concerned phone call telling me to, “Study more. Sleep more. Eat healthy and for God sakes, Meredith, get off the computer!” Like any good daughter I omitted certain stories and instead insisted this week I needed to be on the computer for another reviewing gig.

  (Sorry, Fran – Ed.)

Something Perfectly Innocent. A play that takes place solely on Twitter.  I was really excited to check in each day and read what Claude Nixon; the fabled traveler was getting up to in Brisbane. I was ready for dazzling photos and video clips of subways and alleyways, laneways and skyways, elevators and escalators, friends and adventures; all of it being fed to me through Nixon’s Twitter account. Unfortunately reality fell short of expectations.

The plot is original enough to satisfy but the idea isn’t a new one. Theatre hybrids have been popping up all over the world. From Punchdrunk production’s videogame-theatre concoction in London to Sandra Carluccio’s This Is Kansas City, a play that leads individuals around via text message and phone calls right here in Brisbane. The great thing about this neo-theatre is the possibilities are endless. The concept is future driven. Directors not only have to look to the future and what it may one day contain but also bring the future to their own stage. The Internet posing as a stage is a strange concept that makes me giddy.

In this case I just wasn’t sold. Something Perfectly Innocent consisted of our character, Claude Nixon, a traveler new to Brisbane being embroiled in am inner-city murder mystery. But there were no innovative stunners. Black and white photos, occasional questions to the small 27 Twitter followers for where to find a free newspaper and tweets popping up every hour or so was all it had to offer us. I was looking for interactive videos, topic starters spurning retweets and obscure links leading me on wild chases. There was none of that. It was a very basic multimedia story. Introduction. Complication. Resolution. Curtain Call. That’s all.

I suppose I’m most surprised because Marcus Lilley, British creator behind the concept, seemed so much more promising. In an interview with group Creative Drinks, Lilley confessed he had imagined a different platform with more content for the show but for unspecified reasons ended up basing the play on Twitter. It is not by accident that his interest in film noir is reflected in Something Perfectly Innocent but it wasn’t emphasised as much as what it could have been.

The downfall of Something Perfectly Innocent is not the play itself but that it didn’t reach its full potential. What it didn’t become is more disappointing than what it was. The challenge we set ourselves when taking on multimedia projects is to make it something extraordinary. Twitter, Facebook, the lot of it has become the norm. It’s now nothing of consequence in day-to-day life. By providing theatrical entertainment in these mediums something has to rise above the mundane. Something unique that the audience wishes could be tangible is what creators must strive for. Sadly, Something Perfectly Innocent just wasn’t it. Regardless, I look forward to seeing more interactive theatre and multimedia dramatics. This experience hasn’t deterred me yet. Hopefully I’ll be able to see more of Marcus Lilley’s work. I have faith he can prove to me that this is not his best.

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