Thom Pain: Based on Nothing

Drama · breakdowns productions · Ages 18+ · flashing lights · one person show · United States of America

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Review by PAUL MAJOR

August 08, 2021 certified reviewer
tagged as: catharsis · lonely · drama

What I liked

(see summary, I don’t like splitting up the review)

What I didn't like

(see summary, I don’t like splitting up the review)

My overall impression

‘Oh what a paradise, living in fear…’

Solo plays are not easy feats, and they’re largely not for audiences unwilling to invest their attention; short of a full-on intentional stand-up routine they typically demand more of those watching.

For audiences willing to engage they can be a real treat. As a streamer I was jealous of those there, in person, because that was the experience I wanted to have. That said, there were merits to the online experience.

Most importantly, though, Loviska handles the role with aplomb. This isn’t an easy one — Thom Pain is a circuitous fellow and lives his life before the audience in a series of kind of seemingly atonal, tangential vignettes (as he often asks the audience — ‘do you like magic?’ — he’s, like magic, a bit of a misdirect). Loviska gives us his levels and pain and, above all to me, loneliness.

As a streamer you’re treated to a multi-cam setup that features a fixed close-up panel of the on-stage screen that is used to compliment Pain’s stories, which is a lovely touch and an example of where a ’Zoom’y structure has some benefits.

This was my first experience seeing this lauded play, and I can see why it has done so well.

Also, just a side-note, at one point in the play the audience camera is turned to angle on some of the in-person audience — everyone had their masks on, yay!

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