David Calvitto @ Higher Ground – Art Base
8:00pm, Sat 6 Mar 2010
In what seems to be a growing trend this year, The Event is yet another piece of meta-theatre; a theatrical exploration of theatre itself. Here, though, we find a very literal interpretation of meta-theatre, with The Man (David Calvitto) directly addressing this performance, The Event… and all that surrounds it.
The Man speaks of his involvement in The Event, acknowledging all the other actors that make The Event possible: their camaraderie, their face-value support and back-stabbing sneers, and – most importantly – their reciprocation when it comes to free tickets to their events. The Man speaks of The Writer, who makes all these events possible. The Man speaks of the shame his family feels, their obligatory support masking resentment and disappointment. The Man speaks of us, The Audience, and accepts that there will be some of us who will fall asleep (he even offers a lullaby to help us on our way).
All this is the framework on which The Event is based.
John Clancy’s script is magnificent. Sure, it veers heavily into leftist existentialism at times, but it’s still a gloriously weighty torrent of objective realisations about theatre in general. David Calvitto’s delivery is perfect – dry enough to not disservice the material, but with enough variation to keep the crowd interested (and away from the aforementioned sleep). And his delivery of the “mistake” is impeccable – so much so that I later had to ask him whether the “mistake” was actually a mistake, or just a simple script device to be used anytime there happened to be a mistake. His answer was, deliciously, ambiguous.
The Event really resonated with me; not only for the subject matter and its delivery, but also because it reminded me of when I first started writing about all these shows back in 2000 (when I wrote the home-grown content management system predecessor to this blog, I referred to shows internally as “events”). But I really felt ashamed that this was my first visit (for a show) to Higher Ground this year; and, on the strength on this performance, it was certainly not going to be my last. Because this was solid, mature, intelligent – yet funny – theatre… just what the Fringe ordered.