Published on November 20th, 2015 | by Camilla Churchill0
Review: How We Live Now – Colour of Fruit
Last night marked the World Premiere of ‘How We Live Now – An evening of comedy on a nebulous theme‘ by Colour of Fruit; a posse of practitioners based in Reading with an impressive collective back catalogue of training and performances.
How We Live Now is a collection of eleven short comedic plays created by Brandon M. Crose, an author living across the pond in Boston, who has created a variety of works including one minute, ten minute and full length plays. This piece in particular is made mainly of ten minute tasters exploring multiple separate characters and their similar experiences within the ‘all-too-inevitable social media apocalypse’.
The line-up includes ‘Going Viral’, a scarily realistic glimpse into what will happen when this generation’s avidly documented babies grow up. It was awarded “best play” at the 2014 Long Island City One Act Festival, and it’s easy to see why. The performer’s use of over the top comedy is the perfect vehicle for delivering the sinister undertones in this play.
That same sweet and sour flavour continues throughout the performance as the audience are whisked through the struggles of balancing modern life with trying to spend time with other humans, being shunned for not having Facebook, and initiating actual conversation. In order to transport us to the various locations in each play, the company built a wooden box which cleverly folded into tables, beds and even a bar despite the tiny stage space.
However when you’re competing with a bulky, heavy piece of stage, it can backfire. Whilst the box was taking a while to unfold into its first position I did wonder if the wait was part of the performance. I convinced myself that it was, and whilst the cast struggled I deducted that there must be a person inside waiting to pounce out as the beat dropped in Gangnam Style.
Sadly this did not happen, but I think my odd prediction gives you an idea for just how surreal the humour was and that I truly believed that the cast could make magic with minimal resources. The performers filled every corner with their presence and were unperturbed by having to work around the resident DJ decks and speakers.
Lauren Donoghue, the Managing and Artistic Director wrote a brilliant blog post on the company’s website expressing her desire to bring ‘pub theatre’ to Reading, she says “by virtue of being often in quite close quarters, you feel like more of a team than you would in a formal theatre environment, like this moment is unique and you get to create it together”, which really I felt was the point of the piece, to exist in the moment and have proper experiences with other real people.
The play depicting friends together at a bar truly hit home for me, and the distant, distracted conversations were all too familiar, when it came to an end I felt disappointed, and wanted to see more, hoping that the characters would get out of their digital prisons and see the error of their ways. I left the show making a promise to try harder to avoid drifting off into zombie phone mode in social situations and be more aware of my surrounds.
However please don’t think for a second that as soon as this article is published online that I won’t share it on Twitter to show how #blessed I feel to be writing for Alt Reading. *smiley poo emoji*
How Will Live Now is playing at Bar Iguana on November 23rd, 24th and 30th & December 1st. Tickets are £8.50.