30 Jan AUDIENCE REVIEW | Matinee 30 Jan
This review took place at the Matinee performance on Saturday the 30th of January, 2016 during an audience of BABY by Doppelgangster. Co-produced by MKA | Theatre of New Writing. Presented in association with VAULT Festival.
Why perform a matinee, we often ask ourselves? Why perform twice – on a day, and at the time of day, on that day, that one might otherwise spend sideways on a settee, watching Elvis movies, and dining on last night’s pizza – we often ask ourselves? And some days we continue to often ask ourselves, often, whilst face to faces with an audience. Perhaps it is unfair to review a matinee audience, given that they are suffering as much as us. But what if the opposite is true? Is this an unrivalled opportunity? A gift? Regardless, this is a different crowd, we presume, to that found at night, and certainly they look different, seem to smell less of alcohol, and carry the literal baggage of day travellers.
All these are but contrivances when compared to the ultimate coup de théâtre – a classical disruption from Front of House manager, as she forgets that the house opens only five minutes before show time, and tells us that we open ten minutes earlier. A short discussion later, the house is again closed, and our anticipation of the audience begins anew.
The afternoon’s spectating is framed by the most peculiar of beginnings. Following the opening of the doors – a well worn but completely perfect set-up – there are over ninety sexidecimal seconds of empty seating bank, before a single audience member enters, unaccompanied. The effect is stunning, disquieting and more than a little upsetting, for the entire, or ‘both’, cast! We confess now that we spoke amongst ourselves in this chasmic moment and discussed if it was best simply to leave right then and call it a ‘matinee’.And as is the way of such things; such thrilling spectatorial essays; such hair raising, beholdant reckonings; such as it is at the very moment we decide to call it quits, that then comes the first – of some, thank god -, and then another, and then another, and soon what can easily be described as a small assemblage has assembled. Now that they have arrived, they are nothing short of pure unadulterated proximity!
But now to the very heart of it, the nature of the thing, the power of the audience; and we wish to say very little of it as to say too much is to give away the singular experience that is being watched by, listened to and analysed live from the Saturday 30th Matinee audience of Baby by Doppelgangster. If there is a narrative, and that’s the biggest ‘if’ ever, if ever an if was bigger than any other if, it’s the narrative of a group of people who see a live performance work at the Vault Festival in London. Perhaps they understand that it is about a polar bear and then also a man. And for almost entirely different reasons – and we fear we’ve already given too much away – this reading resonates with us as performers, for almost all of the seventy or so minutes that the watching takes place for. Resulting in one of the most powerful, perturbing and time-based spectatorial effects that we have ever been subjected by.
All in all, they are a bit quiet – perhaps suffering the effects of labour that comes with attending a matinee viewing – and at times their work feels rushed. (Ed. Update Feb 4th: Then again, it goes to show sometimes you have no idea what’s going on for them, as having spoken to one of the attendees since, they’re still puzzling over the meaning of the piece, so no lack of attention it turns out!)
Also, someone leaves a scarf behind but we think may be from the night before.
Reviewers: Tom Payne PhD & Tobias Manderson-Galvin MWrPerf