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Thom Pain (Based on Nothing)

a Comedy
CATEGORY : COMEDY
by Will Eno

COMPANY : Actor's Express [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Actor's Express [WEBSITE]
ID# 1668

SHOWING : February 02, 2007 - March 03, 2007

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

Susan V. Booth, Artistic Director of the Alliance Theatre will direct Chris Kayser in this one-man comedy. Charles Isherwood of the NEW YORK TIMES describes the experience of seeing THOM PAIN - “It's one of those treasured nights in the theater - treasured nights anywhere, for that matter - that can leave you both breathless with exhilaration and, depending on your sensitivity to meditations on the bleak and beautiful mysteries of human experience, in a puddle of tears. Also in stitches, here and there. Speechless, in any case."


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Susan V. Booth
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

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It's Great to be Alive. Isn't It?
by Dedalus
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
5.0
Imagine you’re sitting in a darkening theatre.

You’re sitting with a loved one, or you’re sitting with someone you want to love, or you’re sitting with someone you’ve loved too long, or you’re sitting alone. I don’t care, it doesn’t matter.

Now imagine this again, only instead of sitting in your “Place,” in the seats assigned to “Audience,” you’re sitting at a nice little café table on the stage, along with other folks usually labeled “Audience.”

Imagine looking at your program, and seeing in the cast list the pretentious little entry “The Audience – Themselves” (looking in vain for any sort of bio for this cast member).

Next, imagine a voice in the darkness, a voice recognizable from other plays you’ve seen, a voice talking about nothing in particular, about everything in general.

Next, imagine lights coming up on a man who sits among you, a man recognizable from other plays you’ve seen, but totally unlike other stage characters you’ve seen in that he treats you like you’re on stage with him, which in fact, you are.

Imagine the man alternately berating you, wooing you, complimenting you, insulting you, and, in general, treating you as if you’re his best friend, his biggest headache, and the one he is forced to share time with by the cruel whim of some playwright. Imagine him telling you anecdotes from his life -- cruel remembrances, petty wishes, deep-felt agonies, shallow longings.

Imagine watching audience members walking out on him one-by-one, as he, in desperation, pleads with those of us remaining to give his life some value by staying to hear him tell of it.

Imagine him constantly distracted by us, by memory, by sudden thoughts, by the beautiful woman sitting in the second row of the seats usually assigned to “Audience.”

Imagine a singularly perfect acting moment, a moment where the actor recognizable from other plays you’ve seen pulls out a letter, reads it silently, than puts it away. What was in the letter? A goodbye from a loved one? A goodbye he, in a moment of regrettable pique, wrote to her? A prosaic letter announcing a death, a marriage, a loss, a moment of unshared happiness? We don’t know. He doesn’t tell us. But you know in your heart of hearts that he, the actor, the character, the man, knows exactly what is written in that letter.

Imagine a sillier and more moving moment, a moment in which one of your kind (“The Audience”) is invited on stage for … whatever … and the actor, the character, the man is distracted by everything he’s been talking about all evening and ignores “The Audience” on stage and murmurs snatches of phrase, bits of memory, images we’ve heard (and maybe experienced) ourselves, literary stream-of-consciousness yanked from the dry dustbin of the college classroom and put in the mouth of a real man, an actor you recognize from other plays but who here creates a character more and less than anything he or anyone has ever done before.

Imagine a man trampled underfoot by memory, yet still facing life (and us) with a wry wit that says “This all means nothing, but isn’t it wonderful (and terrible) all the same?”

Imagine all this, and do NOT think of a pink elephant.

That makes for a perfect (and meaningless) night of theatre.

Doesn’t it?

-- Brad Rudy (BKRudy@aol.com)

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