I enter the theatre and cross a stage of scrunched-up paper to reach my seat. The sparse props are larger-than-life, just like the show I’m about to see.
Real is a solo show about producing art for people while you yourself are isolated from people. It is an exploration of internal ambition, conflict, and doubt. It is an introspective show that won’t appeal to everyone.
Real daringly blurs the line between the creator and the creation; between the creative process and the story. The resulting script drags in places, but bursts of energy and wit help to recollect the audience’s attention.
Pyle effortlessly traverses a wide palette of emotional intensity. He is a master of character and movement. I find myself laughing and gasping at some of the twists in his dialogue and choreography. He uses sound, lighting, and the space all to good effect.
This is a show about artists for artists. The plot is very meta. Some audience members are highly engaged with the story, while others don’t quite know what is happening or what the story is about. There aren’t enough hints or exposition to ensure that everyone grasps the central premise of the show.
The witty ending of the show is very satisfying for those of us who have followed the story carefully.
A Q&A session after the show provides an opportunity for those who connected with the material to delve deeper into the motivations behind the story and the creative process.
Real can be seen at the Nelson and Dunedin Fringe Festivals later this month.