Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Thom Pain (based on nothing) - Seattle Repertory Theater

Seattle Repertory Theater
October 5 - November 5, 2006
See website and box office for tickets

Thom Pain (based on nothing)
is the closest approximation that anyone could make to what this play entails. Quite literally, there is Thom Pain on stage and the play is based on nothing. However, nothing becomes much deeper when Thom begins to alter our perceptions about the world and imagination. He takes us on a journey that doesn't conclude until he feels like he's done talking and when he's done, he's done.

Will Eno's play Thom Pain (based on nothing) is an interesting investigation of introspection and perceptions about the world. Once the play has concluded, the audience is left wondering about every aspect of the world and wanting to reach out and grab life by the horns. Despite its inspirational overtones, it pushes these emotions too forcefully. Eno seems to be throwing all of his psychological and introspective thought into the audiences face as fast as possible and with no continuity. Though a play with "based on nothing" in the title should be somewhat disjointed, Eno seems more confused than artistically and pointedly disjointed. Therefore, the play is somewhat hard to follow and certainly seems to have its own agenda that the audience is not entirely a part of.

Todd Jefferson Moore puts forth a forceful and impressive performance in this short one-man production. He carries all of the emotional and social insecurities and baggage of a naive child bewildered by death and puberty, a forlorn lover lost in the world and an aspiring conversationalist with a passionate dislike for magic. Moore, as has been proven in the past, holds audiences captive in the palm of his hand for the entire performance and never once lets them down.

Jerry Manning's direction for this production is impressive to say the least. To push a one-man existentialist introspection on stage into an entertaining spectacle with no effects or stage magic, or even a set for that matter, is an incredible feat. Manning pulls it off with grace and dignity along side with Moore's unmatchable acting prowess.

Thom Pain (based on nothing) is an entertaining show but somewhat difficult to follow and certainly takes a lot of energy on the audience's part in order to catch even a drift of Eno's intent.

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