Best Play/Worst Play
The performance began with Christie Watson on drums. Meanwhile Emelia Symington Fedy's voiceover described the type of play we would see tonight. This play would be about a 70-79 year-old protagonist, be a farce about a character whose fatal flaw was stupidity and include loud sound design.
Psych. Actually that was not the play we would see. Our performer emerged and explained that what was described, according to statistical research she had done, was the worst possible play. We would not see that. Instead we saw mostly a monologue including suggestions of good first and last lines for plays, ideas for fatal flaws, for terrible secrets and for events which spur characters to action (I found a ticket in an old book and now I'm going to Uzbekistan!).
What most people do want is a play about an unusual-looking character who is smarter than they are. They want to feel intense emotions at the theatre. All respondents wanted a play which made them laugh and 89% also wanted to feel sad.
Now a performance about what makes a play good or bad might sound dull. In fact it was hilarious and by far the best thing I saw at the festival. Symington Fedy's acting was subtle but it was her small changes in expression which made mundane things funny. Without resorting to obvious angst or pathos she was funny and transfixing.
Damn, was I sorry when this ended after thirty minutes. As well as being funny, this performance asks a lot of questions about the role of the audience and whether they know what they want and whether they should get it. In this case I did get exactly what I wanted, even though I didn't know what it was. I will definitely be going to whatever Chop Theatre does next.