[20020052] A Large Attendance in the Ante Chamber

A Large Attendance in the Ante Chamber

Brian Lipson @ Art Gallery Auditorium

6:00pm, Fri 8 Mar 2002

Score: 8

Short Review: Strindbergian

First up: thanks to Andrew Litzky of theater simple (go see Strindberg (In Paris) and 52 Pick Up!) for his wonderfully apt, one word synopsis for this piece of theatre.

“ALAitAC” (you try writing the whole thing out) is an odd little number based on the writings of Francis Galton, written and performed by Brian Lipson. Galton was a polymath (learned person of encyclopedic knowledge, expert in many fields), and is reputed to have had the highest recorded IQ (and was quite a fan of the premise of IQ tests). His contributions to science were many and varied, covering fields such as meteorology, statistics, criminology, and his own field of eugenics – which seeks to improve the human stock through maintenance of genetic potential.

As you can probably imagine, Galton’s passion for eugenics has resulted in him being viewed in a controversial light… and here, Lipson presents a wacky, eccentric characterisation of Galton. This is best epitomised by the opening scene, where he creates a device used to kick himself in the head.

Brilliantly original, Lipson uses his tight set to full advantage, and this is a very enjoyable piece of work. I can’t help thinking, however, that maybe a little liberty has been taken with Galton’s eccentricities… if this is the case, then the artistic license was fairly used for a lot of humour. Great stuff!

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