Nothing pleases me more than to have my ideas of what constitutes good theatre challenged, and the talented and immensely clever cast and crew of True Logic of the Future have done just that. This is a creative and intricately constructed performance that presents many challenges for the reviewer, not least of which is the question of whether it should be reviewed at all.
Beginning with a number of encouragements for audients to interact with the set, and the actors, and especially to ‘follow the onscreen instructions’, the audience enters the performance space through a long corridor, and finds their places in seats or on cushions on the floor. Encouraged by the screen to find props and interact with them, the audience is prepared for the interaction that will be required of them throughout the performance. They find, before too long, that they’re witnessing a computer simulation, and just like any other computer, it is subject to the odd conniption that can be remedied by giving it a good jolt, such as can be affected by stomping on the floor. They find, also, that the show simply can’t go on without them. A truth in all theatre, but especially so in this.
The narrative of True Logic of the Future is, perhaps, a little thin. Its characters are likewise shallow, and lack the kind of depth I would normally insist is compulsory in a drama. In this context, however, far from being a detractor, it’s a major strength. The work is driven by the ideas of William Stanley Jevons, a nineteenth century philosopher whose work had substantial impact across a number of fields. While this is a potentially didactic and dry theme for a play, it is nonetheless a fascinating experiment when it is turned on its head to be about the audients’ capacity for rationality. And so rather than emotive elements like character and plot providing the work’s movement, this is provided by the audience’s interaction. The play insists that the audience, wherever they’ve come from, is capable not only of understanding Jevons’ ideas, but of constructing them. A far more interesting proposition than the story of a dead man’s life.
And far more interesting than the portrayal of dead man, the three onstage writer/performers; David Finnigan, Jack Lloyd and Cathy Petocz are simply remarkable. With a script that can change direction at a moment’s notice, depending on audience interaction, and clearly defined objectives, their professionalism is of the highest standard. They are likewise supported by musician Michael Bailey, without whose sense of the moment their performances would fall flat.
Some might argue that True Logic of the Future, as a production developed in conjunction with a museum, isn’t really theatre; but I think it rather challenges us to define what theatre really is. At the end of the day (or the performance), what really matters is the nature of the experience and how, as a member of an audience, you’ve related to it. True Logic of the Future takes ideas that are philosophically dense, and not only presents them in a narrative that’s easy to relate to, but also provides engaging experiences that illustrate their point. While this may not suit fans of Andrew Lloyd Webber, it is nonetheless the heart of theatre; it’s what keeps theatre alive.
As theatrical experiences go, this is among the most enjoyable I have ever had. The way in which the performers draw the audience into participation so effortlessly ignited a sense of playfulness and wonder most commonly associated with childhood, and while other experiences may impress with language, skill and profundity (as this one does), I simply found myself incredibly grateful for the awakening of my sense of wonder.
Boho Interactive presents
True Logic of the Future
Venue: Belconnen Arts Centre | 118 Emu Bank, Belconnen
Dates: 13 - 18 July, 2010
Times: Tuesday – Saturday @ 8:00pm, Sunday @ 6:00pm
Tickets: $25, $18 Concession
Bookings: 02 6173 3300