In a Double Bill, the Avant-Garde Meets a Very Good Girl

There are many examples of avant-garde works that have a weak grasp on the audience, even if the actor has a strong grasp on their characters. Playwright finally reveals what you’ve been expecting all along: a pistol.

With its own type of drama, stage guns are somewhat similar to dogs in that they tear apart all the theatrical artifice around them. Gun drama, on the other hand, tends to be dreary, with only two outcomes: Either the gun is used or it isn’t. Fletcher expertly transitioned into “The Art of Theater,” a 30-minute monologue in which an actor (Fletcher) thinks aloud to his dog about acting, and it was the dog’s drama that took on life.

Not merely because she’s given human intellect in the narrative. (“Keep the volume down,” the actor instructs.”)… “Speak softly. Lastly, if you must bark, keep your voice quiet.”) Delia, a 4-year-old rescue dog with a lovely face and excellent manners, is adamant about the superior intelligence that dogs possess. Despite the fact that she normally sits and listens, she can’t help but show off her impressive improv abilities when the situation calls for it.

Is it just me, or does the smell of peanut butter fill the air? Bring them on, let’s go get some! Is that a commotion among the crowd? Let’s look into it! Her story has less to do with the actor’s than his does with hers.

In the Elevator Repair Service’s rendition of “Gatz,” Fletcher is best known as Jay Gatsby. He talks wonderfully and never barks. In any case, the text of “The Art of Theater,” another translation by Elliott and a new film from Rambert, didn’t hold my attention. The actor’s views on his craft and the types of theatre artists he generally works with are predictable, save for the times when they’re jarring.

He admits, “I’ve never been a fan of old women.” People often say things like, “Old women are so boring.”

Nevertheless, Rambert’s comparison of this self-centered jerk to a good girl like Delia is a smart strategy for getting the audience to consider the nature of performance. Even if he admits that “as an actor you have realised that you are a dog and that you would be abandoned,” it’s not just the cost to the performer. The character in “With My Own Hands” is “a man trapped in a dog’s body” in that sense, and everyone is at the mercy of their masters.

However, a dog is not confined to a dog’s body. A woman’s physique is her entire self. She lacks the actor’s affectations or the ability to shine a light on her best side. In a way, that’s her job, and Delia excels at it. She’s just pleased to make others happy. For whatever reason, she’s licking Fletcher’s face while they’re dancing together at the end of the play.

That was enough to keep me warm on a really cold day in an equally chilly genre.