HFF Review: Cycles
I enjoyed this play’s opening, when it made use of the stage just in front of me, placing an actor at my very feet. As I’ve mentioned, I enjoy the Emperor’s Seat, and I enjoy when theatre can offer me something other art cannot. From this vantage point, in this live experience, I received intimacy and what most audience members would not, and a new sort of feeling that occurs thusly. And so I watched this man act, yes, act in the very root of the word in that he was performing the action of sit-ups inches from my heels.
In this vein I enjoyed what theatre can give me in watching, as a voyeur but quite present with them, the sort of emotion one would not want to see in one’s real life, but that one still wants to see all the same- the extreme kind of emotion and physicality from our primitive, ape side- for indeed we are all apes, beasts, though we have tamed ourselves. Yet not, as we see here, always. And sometimes you just want to see two beasts get raw, and to experience that as a catharsis.
To be honest, I was expecting that at the beginning, because of the description I’d heard of the show going in. It turned out that the plot description of what the play was supposed to be about did not really occur until aways in, so I did not get the sense of being turned around and shown new things like some reviewers have mentioned. I suppose I got a spoiler, and thus, I sort of wanted the play to get on with it already the whole time until it happened, although I see why they built up to it.
Even so, I found myself zoning out more than once, as did my date. I suppose the lines, no matter how good the actors might be, were not personally relatable- I couldn’t care less about real estate. It was like watching football. Some people like it; I just can’t watch it. Even though the language was supposed to be metaphorical, I still couldn’t get into it. Only when it was brought around to the Biblical figures of Jesus and Moses did I pay real attention in these moments, because such are topics near and dear to my heart.
I will say as something of an aside: Perhaps the play would have been more personally interesting to me and my date if the chemistry had gone beyond simply two platonic men onstage talking about real estate. Perhaps, to add something more to the mix- we both thought the chemistry could well have gone into the realm of submission and domination between the younger and the older- but again, some people like football, and some people like romance.
I thought the ending was excellent. It went even beyond the moment of catharsis I’d mentioned before, to one that only perhaps select audience members may fully enjoy. Yes, in order to reap the most out of that last moment, one must have lived- and no one has lived until they have been reduced to nothing. I mean real nothing. The sort of blackest moment a soul can ever have, nameless and nothing, I emphasize a third time. Many people can’t handle this. It’s very painful, and the acting conveyed this vulnerability well. Yet those of us who have survived this see something else in this ending- we know what happens once one has reached that point. Only from there can one truly build, and honestly so. Only from there does one realize that one’s identity was standing in the way of so much. It was very gratifying to see someone else there; I find it isn’t that common, or if it is used it’s generally glazed over. It’s healing, really, to see another being where one has been.
This show has been picked up for Best of Fringe July 28th, 7:30, at Theatre Asylum.