Some People Talk About Violence, Wednesday 23rd November, The Other Room. Reviewer: Bob Wigin
The word ‘performance’ may more suitably describe Barrel Organ’s most recent play as, if you go and see Some People Talk of Violence, expect much on-stage improvisation, audience participation and lots of Jacob’s Cream Crackers being shoved in to mouths.
We are presented with a mother, brother, daughter and narrator, each actor being randomly assigned one of these parts before the play begins. This kind of spontaneity is what gives the play its energy but also lets it become a little too loose at times. Through their own monologues, the characters describe their less than perfect relationships with the each other, all while the narrator interrupts and pushes their most secret thoughts towards the fore. The action centres around the daughter and a mysterious act she has carried out. However, for the most part she languishes at home. Her mother worries about her and her brother reflects on the change which has occurred between him and her since they have approached adulthood. The dialogue is made brilliantly mundane by its subject matter (the daughter has a long rant about The Big Bang Theory at one point) and is delivered with a raw intensity. As a result, the characters feel real and the events they describe may be felt as a little too familiar for some. Yet, interspersed with the sections of acting are sections of, almost, off- script playing. At one moment, a noise is heard and, one of the actors asks another two to tell him what the noise is, where it is coming from and who is making it, seemingly through complete improvisation. He turns from one to the other, making them compete to give him more convincing details about the story behind the noise. These odd, non-acting, fragments seem out of place at first; we think we are about to discover more detail in the plot when suddenly, all those on stage go out of character and everything becomes a bit experimental. This was a little frustrating at times, since, whilst in this mode, the actors seemed more engaged with enjoying themselves than conveying anything to the audience. But these pieces of the play are effectively brought together when it concludes, creating a broken narrative which we cannot fully grasp. If nothing else, Some People Talk of Violence will be like no play you have ever seen before and can be recommended on this merit alone, just don’t expect to understand everything that happened in it after you leave the theatre.
by Bob Wigin