December 16, 2021

Double Bill - And They Were Wrong / An Encyclopedic Instruction

 Inside a gorgeous old bank building that now houses Courtney Creative two plays (Double Bill) from emerging artists are being performed on a makeshift stage. Both shows are slow to start but then take drastically different turns.

The first, And They Were Wrong, tells you everything you need to know in the provided brief blurb, it's about "technological deceit and the dangers of hidden, online identities" leaving no surprise. There is interesting integration of technology, with live chats projected behind the performer. The plot follows a young trans woman as she attempts to find herself in all the wrong places and contains a stereotypical unsupportive father with perhaps a side of victim blaming thrown in. The ending is tied up too neatly, it shies away from any real conflict but with a bit of polish and some leaning into discomfort this piece could really pack some punch.

The second show, An Encyclopedic Instruction, is an entirely different beast. Supposedly an escape room it appears as though a youth has been kidnapped either by zombies* or a cult (it's never made clear which) who either torture or attempt to indoctrinate him. There's a timer ticking down the hour in the corner. Apparently the show alters depending on the audience reaction which makes me think I should have followed my instinct and walked out in the first ten minutes as I believe the point was that the audience themselves were being tortured. As the time ticked by and you thought about all the other things you could be doing, eating, sleeping or cleaning your house if you're a responsible adult, the need for a payoff built but it never eventuated. There were points where I wished it would end in an explosion and put us all out of our misery. If there was a point, it flew right past me.

The ticket price is very high for something of this nature, but you are getting two shows, though if you don't want to suffer like we did I'd recommend leaving during the interval.

*Is it in bad taste to write about zombies during a pandemic?

Tickets: $40 (door sales available) 

Performances: 7:30pm 15-17, 19 December 

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