nytheatre.com review by David Ledoux
June 15, 2007
My first thought: Well, you get what you pay for . . . And Nothing is free.
My second thought: You get what you ask for . . . And this is the Pretentious Festival.
The one thing I will say in it's defense, it takes a lot of guts to present this subject matter to an audience even though people may kill you. Read no further if you don't want the end of the show ruined.
Let me give you a brief rundown of my experience. I arrive at the Brick Theatre in Williamsburg about a half hour before curtain. I go into the lobby and there is no one there. I start to wonder if maybe the show was cancelled or I got the wrong day. I go back into the theatre and there is a man sitting in the audience. I ask him if there is a show tonight and he says, "Sort of, the house isn't open yet." So I go take a walk around Williamsburg and come back a few minutes before the show is supposed to start. The house is still not open, but now there is a woman at the box office. I hear the man inside the theatre now going over last minute cues with his light board operator. This goes on for about ten minutes past when the show is supposed to start.
I ask the box office woman if this is the show; if this was the "Nothing" that was being presented and they are messing with me. She assures me it is not and they are just going over some last minutes things. Finally the house opens, I walk into an empty theatre and sit down. The man, whose name I do not have because there are no programs or press kits, gives the curtain speech.
The lights dim. A light comes up stage center. The light board operator comes out from the lighting booth and has a seat in the audience. We then all stare at this light for ten minutes. Ten long minutes. The light board operator leaves, fades the light and then full lights up and music.
I ask the man, who was the director and creator of the piece, what his intention was in doing this. He says that it was the most pretentious thing he could think of. I agree.
Even though this piece was nothing more than a kind of practical joke on the audience, I found myself going through a wide gamut of thoughts and feelings. I was angry that I came all the way to Brooklyn to see this. Then I went from angry to almost admiring the guts that it takes to do this.
I take issue with one central part of the evening. There was a light center stage. If this was truly nothing, it should have been dark. Also, what cues could they possibly have been going over for ten minutes past curtain?!