In his one man play How Do You Feel, produced by Cart/Horse Theatre from Toronto playing at the Atlantic Fringe Festival, Matthew Gorman plays with the idea of audience expectation and courts many of the clichés of one person plays but with a definitive postmodern and unique twist.
This is one play that is best seen without a lot of foreknowledge of what is about to happen as a sense of surprise deeply enhances the power of the journey that Gorman is takes us on and raises questions about the essence of the theatre, and where the power of storytelling comes from. What I found most striking about the show was its utter lack of pretentiousness; indeed it attacks the image of theatre as something grandiose, poking fun at the way it is sometimes chosen to be represented, but without devaluing its power for storytelling.
Indeed, How Do You Feel is about representation… the way that we construct stories, in the hopes that others will like us, or accept us or walk away fascinated, impressed or moved. Gorman’s affable self-deprecating humour and his conversational frankness draws the audience into his tale effortlessly. As a playwright, Gorman is consistently specific in his description of people and places, sometimes poetical and philosophical, but always without using too many words. He creates an aura on stage that suggests that we could be anywhere, that he could be telling us this same story around a table at the local pub, and that regardless of where we were, he would be able to hold us just as captivated.
Matt White directs the piece so subtly that his artistic footprint barely leaves a mark, Gorman’s illusion of spontaneity is so strong. This is the perfect piece to see at the Fringe Festival if you have seen a lot of theatre, and especially if you have seen a lot of Fringe shows or if you are a theatre artist yourself, as you will likely see a lot of your experience shining back at you with dry wit and acute perception.
How Do You Feel plays at the Neptune Studio Theatre 1593 Argyle Street at the following times, it is 45 minutes long and is $8.00.
Friday, September 9th, 5:45pm
Saturday, Septemer 10th, 3:45pm
To book advanced tickets please visit Neptune Theatre’s Box Office, 1593 Argyle Street or call 902.429.7070 or visit www.atlanticfringe.ca.
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