That the Multitude May Live.
This fringe festival makes a point of enforcing some well-known Fringe rules that are designed to benefit the enjoyment of the audience. We are told to switch off our cell phones, not to unwrap candy in the auditorium, and that entering or leaving the theatre is not allowed once the show has begun. But it has forgotten a much older rule of theatre etiquette that should also be enforced. NO cameras in the theatre.
This Fringe allows members of the theatre companies to photograph during performance. When did this become acceptable? Producers should be aware that photography is a distraction from the show and it is disrespectful to take photographs in front of the same people you are taking money from. If you want to take photographs in front of an audience, that audience should be let in for free. If you are performing before a paying audience you have a responsibility to provide the best possible experience you can and taking pictures is out of line. Leave your cameras and your egos outside the door.
Well, that being said, and the culprits know who they are, let’s get on with the review.
This is a very complicated plot and it is very hard to follow. But it is also a sequel and not having seen the original show, 59 Minutes in the Maxwell Suite, may have left this reviewer at disadvantage.
The play is presented in a minimalist acting style reminiscent of the work of Robin Phillips during his years at the head of the Stratford Festival and sadly, also reminiscent of bad sci-fi films such as Zardoz and Barbarella.
Of the three actors, only one, Steve O’Brien, as the President of the American Union, is truly able to deliver an engaging performance in the minimalist style. Matt Szpirglas as Luton Maxwell has obviously chosen to present a zombified personality that I felt was unfortunately wooden, and Brenna Rae McNaughton as Naomi Verne wavered, being more engaging when she was working with Mr. O’Brien, and struggling with the challenge of acting beside Mr Szpirglas. I would say that our current mutual experience of growing technological complexity sides with Marshall McLuhan, who says that all technology is an extension of the human spirit and will not take away from our humanity, but will instead, enhance it. Thus the minimalist acting style constitutes a false dystopian prophecy that does not represent the true future.
Well, that being said, this is an ambitious show with lots to offer to the viewer who likes to think. Through this work, director, writer, and executive producer John Bandler displays a vivid imagination and powerful intellect. He needs to think harder about how to answer the challenge of bringing the audience along with him.