Saturday, October 14, 2006

REVIEW: Product (Project, Dublin)

A man and a woman in a bare space. He speaks, she listens with all her
might. Sixty minutes elapse. Mark Ravenhill's self-drive vehicle (the
playwright wrote the piece and also stars) is pared down enough to be
a Beckett play, although its obsession with Hollywood, terrorism,
violence pretty much clears up any confusion.

Ravenhill, the author of that bain of posters everywhere, Shopping and
Fucking, has graduated from the enfant terrible of British theatre.
These days he is an artist with enough clout to tour widely in a show
that, without his presence it's easy to imagine, would be far less
widely seen. To put it mildly.

The playwright plays a slightly crazed film producer who has a script
– titled Mohamad and Me, we read on its cover – which promises to put
the "clash of civilisations" into Hollywood language, or at least play
around with some of the clichés and racism that lie behind it. To this
end, he has convinced a "name" actress (Joanne Mitchell) to hear his pitch.

The movie pitch, that hyperventilated spiel designed to attract the
attention and the favours of the gods of money, is an economical way
of evoking those big shots that will cost all the money if the movie
ever gets made. But there is also a growing trend, which Mark
Ravenhill's Product is another example, in which the movie pitch is
--despite suggesting the opposite -- is an end in itself.

As such, it is an illustration of the opposite of "don't tell, show".
It is all "tell, don't show"

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