Audience: Michael Willer
“Blackboxing” is the real deal. The show within a show is delightfully immersive, and there isn’t a single wasted second or line of dialogue to explain the concept or linger; the economy of word in this play is one I greatly respect and appreciate. It is a hilarious and heartfelt look at a very relatable, if pompous, actor and his nemesis, the techie; the deeper message of the show and its take on depression is pin sharp and hits home at just the right times, in just the right ways. A strong voice, even stronger performances, and extremely tight directing make this a contender for Best of Fringe in my book.
Matt’s performance is full to bursting with energy; not just a manic BLAH but a well-directed, well-performed explosion of creative expression that has a well-told point and purpose. We all laughed. SO much. The entire audience was in fits throughout the show. When it came time to get serious for a moment, there were still some giggles; but then the somber words and authentic emotions took root and we were spellbound for the big moment. A bit revolving around his parents is impeccably set up, utilized, and payed off in a fashion that speaks to experienced writing and taught directing. (I know I’m repeating myself, but shows like this deserve a resounding ovation.)
What could be improved? Would I have directed it differently (being a director myself)? Would I have cast it differently? Would I make choices that change the DNA of the show? No. This is one of those pieces that is so deeply drenched in the voice of its creator that to change it would be to ruin it. Like my favorite TV show 30 Rock, if there’s ever a joke that doesn’t land the play moves on to the next one so quickly that you don’t care, and don’t remember.
When this show was playing at Fringe I urged people to get tickets before it sold out. I went opening night and came back 2 weeks later. They had to add seats (I'm pretty sure the Fire Marshall would've been grumpy) and it was still sold out. Go see it.