Readymade Cabaret 2.0
Flying Solo! Presents and This Is Not A Theatre Company
Plays with an educational or factual basis, instead of achieving the objective of prompting audiences to consider something new, can end up sounding like a dry Wikipedia entry. Readymade Cabaret 2.0 devised by Flying Solo! Presents and This Is Not A Theatre Company avoids this failing as it not only talks the talk about the satirical Dada movement which rejected all meaning; it walks the walk with a gloriously irreverent and silly staging.
The set-up for the play is a kind of participative online seminar and the staging by director Erin B Mee rejects logic and structure. Scenes are played not in linear order but in accordance with the random ‘cut-up’ principles. Participants are invited to determine the order in which the scenes are played by rolling a die. We are told the scenes are connected but that it is our responsibility to determine any meaning.
Sure enough, over 27 apparently random scenes, it is possible to not only spot a storyline but also apply a range of theories both Dadaist and rational. Scientists experimenting on rats provoke an existential crisis among the rodents. It also illustrates the theory that the universe experiments upon humanity via pandemics. Very topical.
The relationship between lovers is traced in a non-linear manner from first meeting / date to final argument / reconciliation. The storyline demonstrates the unreliability of the brain which constructs memory from a series of past experiences.
Readymade Cabaret 2.0 is suitably silly and irreverent. A jester in full cap and bells recites poetry composed via the cut-up method and dances are choreographed in accordance with a word, an adjective and a body part. There are even mini-lectures on why the ancient Greeks were so happy and if there is such a thing as 'Fate'.
Readymade Cabaret 2.0 is a demanding play concluding with an argument among viewers as to its merits or otherwise. There is the promise to keep exposing viewers to difficult concepts. Fine by me—I found the play to be thoroughly entertaining and it certainly piqued my curiosity, making me willing to learn more. How very Dada.
Reviewer: David Cunningham