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No longer a passive audience

Stephanie DePrez | Tuesday, September 23, 2008

“Spurt of Blood” is absolutely ridiculous in the most fantastic way.  It was easily the most fun I have had in the theatre in quite a while. Upon entrance, one expects to be handed a program and seated around the stage for a passive, albeit emotional or maybe hysterical evening of entertainment. This is what an audience member expects – to be entertained. We want to have other people get up and act out our greatest tragedies and triumphs, and to feel something in the process. We expect them to question our values and give us a glimpse of society. But we always know that no matter what, they’re on the stage and we’re in the chairs. This is accepted. This is expected. It’s The Theatre after all.This is precisely what Artaud was attempting to abolish. And I’m here to tell you, if that’s the intent of this production, it succeeds. I can’t begin to describe the plot, which, though present, is altogether unimportant. This experience is not about telling a story, but instead about using the idea of theatre to bring emotions and thoughts to an audience without one. If theatre is about experience, then this should be its calling card.Beyond the set (fluid) costumes (bizarre) and text (nice…really) stand the actors, who are the pillar of this show. They are so committed that, as the absurdity rises, you somehow trust them to keep it all in control. This is a show that could easily get lost, become a farce or leave the viewer stranded in a sea of confusion, but they never falter. As an audience member, I felt safe letting them guide me across the stage (at moments literally) as the show raged on. It ran about 38 minutes, start to finish. I laughed, gasped, and I let myself be open to this archetype of “theatre of the cruelty.” But I am pretty sure that through the entire show, I was smiling. Bottom line, you don’t have to be a theatre aficionado to understand the show. It’s not about being understood. And you should go.