12
Nov
12

Some Dumb Play

Some Dumb Play

 

Some Dumb Play

Metro Arts Allies

6th November – 17th November 2012

 

Reviewed by Meredith McLean

 

“Okay, so you don’t like our show. Maybe it’s not what you were expecting. Maybe you wanted more music, or violence, or sex. Maybe we got too caught up in what we wanted to make, in what we wanted to see. So why even go to the theatre? Why not just stay at home watching videos on Youtube.

Entertainment is all on-demand now, right? Maybe it’s about time theatre caught up…”

Some Dumb Play is an exercise in remote-controlled theatre. After every scene, you get to vote for what you want to see next. With the power of a smartphone, you get to pick the characters, change the plot, and control the style. With over 1.5 million different performance outcomes to vote for, we can be anything you want us to be…

 

Some Dumb Play Claire PearsonOn the one hand I’m here to tell you about Some Dumb Play. No, no, that’s the title I swear! But a part of me feels like I’m lying to you as you read this. Because I don’t know and still won’t know how this play might end for you. That’s what makes Some Dumb Play a very unique performance.

Allow me to elaborate. I’ve encountered shows that have attempted something like this before. Beauty is Difficult from the heartBeast team gleaned an air of mystery with the question of who might die on the night, always changing the outcome. But it is nothing as complex as this. On the other hand, Some Dumb Play also brings a simple pleasure in this technological wonderland we live in. Something attempted before, by the likes of Marcus Lilley on Twitter comes to mind, but that fell far below the potential that the gang at Metro Arts has easily pushed past. This commentary is more than a Twitter account or an alternating death scene. With these guys, each scene of the play is in full, changing motion.

On opening night I was greeted with drinks in the Metro Arts Verve bar downstairs. Being the awkwardly-oblivious-to-my-surroundings kind of girl that I am, I climbed all four stories of the Metro Arts building before realising the Sue Benner theatre is in fact on the ground floor. I encourage you not to make the same mistake. Once I was back downstairs I thought I had regained my breath. The sound track of the rain on Brisbane CBD’s busy streets echoing in the foyer was rather therapeutic.

 

But theatre is faithful in making sure we never do catch our breath.

 

There is a bizarre energy buzzing once you enter the Sue Benner theatre. As the tag line says, Some Dumb Play “can be anything you want it to be…”

 

Some Dumb Catering QTC's GreenHouse

 

This is something more specific than contemporary theatre in the vein of technological observation. This is software, gizmos and other techy words. I’ve never had to credit a software developer in a review before but here I am praising Ben Murray who helped make this “remote-controlled theatre experiment” possible.

 

Some Dumb Play

 

Credit for the writing of the piece has to go to Director, Nathan Sibthorpe. Not only is he a man of words, but he is a man of visuals and it shows in this production. Sibthorpe has been busy in the theatre scene the past few years even if you haven’t seen him yet. You might recognise his directorial signature on productions such as Voice, which made it to FAST in 2011. More recent works include his input towards AV design in Dead Puppet Society’s The Harbinger at The Roundhouse for La Boite, which was a smash hit earlier this year. Maybe I’m biased, but Nathan Sibthorpe is another excellent example of the graduates from QUT’s Bachelor of Fine Arts Program (QUT represent!), and of a JUMP Mentoring artist. From what I saw at Metro Arts and from Sibthorpe’s track record, I see a lot of promise in this creative force.

Despite Sibthorpe’s title of director I have to remind you that on the night the reigns are taken out of his hands. I hope he has accepted that the actors need to be on the ball, whichever direction the show takes. But not only this, you, the audience, also get to enjoy the play in a way that is different to others I’ve seen before. This invasion of smartphones, iPads, laptops, Facebook; the age of narcissism as it has been termed, is turned on its head. Instead, you call the shots.

This review is much shorter than the norm. But I can’t tell you much more because I can’t promise what I have seen is what you will see. The only way you’ll know is to take the chance, take control; enjoy the remote-controlled experiment that is Some Dumb Play. Shows are still running until the 17th November. So make sure you don’t climb four flights of steps on your way, and do not doubt that the night will be a surprise.

 

 

Director – Nathan Sibthorpe
Producer – Kristen Trollope
Lighting Designer – Hamish Clift
Software Developer – Ben Murray
Technical Coordinator – Candice Diana
Stage Manager – Bec Lawes
Assistant Director – Essie O’Shaughnessy

Featuring

Cameron Clark

Kieran Law

Toby Martin

Claire Pearson

Bianca Zouppas

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