I’m not pale, I’m dead.
The Roof The House @ Gluttony – The Runt
6:00pm, Sat 9 Mar 2013
Back into the hot-and-uncomfortably-sticky Runt I venture for another show, and this time I’m well aware that the venue is going to prove super-problematic: I’m not pale, I’m dead has done well on the word-of-mouth front, and most of its remaining shows are sell-outs. As a result, The Runt is very uncomfortably chockers… and the tight space and lack of airflow makes the environment stifling.
Luckily, the show’s buzz is entirely deserved.
Writer/performer Lydia Nicholson opens the show with an intriguing premise: she purports to be a ghost (enlisting – then ignoring – help from the audience to verify that assertion), and we’re witness to the how-to-be-dead seminar she’s attending. As she relays her learnings from the seminar, facts about her demise are deftly woven in almost absent-mindedly – absolutely no attention is called to them. And that leaves me feeling good – Nicholson clearly trusts her audience.
Even better, then, when there are hints that her death was unnecessarily tragic – and was it her father’s fault? But these factoids, too, are never really evolved; the manner of her own death, via questions she keeps asking-without-asking, is never clearly resolved. Even as we work towards the show’s conclusion, when Nicholson implicitly suggests that a reveal is coming, she coyly sidesteps and evades any real narrative reveal.
Not tying up the loose ends is a ballsy move… but in the context of this show, with all the confidence shown to the audience, it totally works.
Nicholson’s view of the afterlife is entertaining, and if it’s anywhere near as kooky as she imagines it’s going to be a great place to spend my death. And her presentation is excellent – not only is she a great actress, but she shows fantastic comic timing with her jokes. And, in case you missed the hints, I loved the script: it’s sharp and funny and heartwarming and tragic and unafraid to leave the finer details to the audience.
And massive props to Nicholson for the useful sheet of information found on every seat in The Runt, too – “Program and optional hot weather fan”. Cute :)
— Pete Muller (@festivalfreakAU) March 9, 2013