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The Truth

ensemble theatre · shine on · Ages 16+ · world premiere · United States of America

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Review by TERRY ANNE HOLZMAN

June 24, 2016

What I liked

I love the Fringe for shows like “The Truth”. Shows that are not afraid to go “outside the box” (literally, as the show takes place on the streets around Hollywood’s Theater Row). I love theater that is unafraid to take risks…even if it fails. And I felt “The Truth” failed me as a performance piece. It tried…it really did try to do something different, and I kept an open mind throughout, but in the end….meh. I totally love immersive theater and try to seek it out when I can. “The Truth” was the first performance I wanted to see (and the only show I actually paid full-price for) and I was expecting more.

It started out very interesting….six of us met on the street outside the Hudson Theatre and were given tags that identified us as “test subjects”, told that “Shine Laboratories” had been watching our every move for awhile. I believed them. Good start. We were asked to take out our Smart phones, log onto the the Shine Lab site, put in our earbuds when told to and listen to various tracks. All of it, very cool and I was excited to start the journey. We were introduced to the creator of the study who asked if we wanted to learn “the truth”, which we all nodded “yes” to. I was excited to see where the journey would take us, but all we did was walk around a few blocks, meeting weird characters who were interesting performers but really did nothing to further a plot. In the end, I did not learn “the truth” about anything.

What I didn't like

See above…I combined what I liked with what I did not.

The soundtracks on the “Shine Labs” website were just jangled noise. I think this concept was not used well and it was a cool idea!

The moment I got uninvolved in the play was with the first actor, a drunk dude offering to take us to a party. He was obnoxious and I don’t know what the point of his character was.

The hard thing about immersive theater is HOW immersive should it be with the audience? How much do you want them to be involved or add to the action? We were asked questions, and I tried to answer some, tried to just carry on conversations with the characters, but most of the other participants just stood there with “WTF” look on their faces. I sort of gave up half way through. Actors in immersive theater must be very versatile and good with improv and going “off script” if there is even a script. The first question is how and how much to involve the audience. At times I just felt like walking away….that would have been fine I’m sure, but I wanted to see where it/we were going….and it proved to be….nowhere.

I DO feel like there IS something to further explore with “The Truth”. It just felt it was still unformed.

My overall impression

I love the Fringe because of shows like “The Truth”. Those that try for something unique even if they fail. And for me “The Truth” failed. Yes, the performance was “outside the box” because “The Truth” literally took place on the streets of Hollywood. However, it did not amount to much. Lots of build up for no payoff. It started out cool, asking if we six “test subjects” wanted to “learn the truth” which we all nodded ‘yes’ to. Then we were instructed to use our Smart Phones to access the “Shine Labs” website and listen to various soundtracks that added nothing to the performance for me. Sound that confused me and was jangly and garbled. Not sure of the point. We met strange characters on the street who I guess were trying to help put together a story (that “the truth” was being kept from us), but there was no real connection to a satisfying end. Not that I expected a traditional “plot”. In the end I was no further to learning (or not learning) “the truth” than at the beginning. Perhaps that WAS the point? For me, the show failed but I’m glad I saw it…as an experiment. I hope the creators might continue working on it, give it more of a story and purpose and the do something better with the cool idea of using Smart Phones.

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LA’s premier bouffon troupe: a motley crew of miscreants have crawled out of the gutter to make you question reality. Our feats of physical and existential comedy defy explanation and provoke unfettered, eery glee. Come see what's behind the curtain.