Dot Distribution – By @_SamBeaumont
By Sam Beaumont
A couple of weeks ago I decided to mix things up and go to see a play. I might have told a few of you about it at the time, but if not, it was called ‘Art’. The bizarre story revolved around 3 middle-aged men and the way in which their friendship fractured after one of them spent £100k on a completely white painting. It might sound a little dull, but honestly it was hilarious.
Along with the rest of the packed theatre I laughed all the way through and had a great evening. However, unlike the people around me I was also doing some dot collection. I hadn’t gone there with the intention of doing so, but being at SCA means I now find it almost impossible to passively observe anything. There’s always something to learn. So I thought I’d use this SCAB to pass on 3 things I took from my cultural outing…
1) Silence can be just as powerful as words – Granted, this isn’t a particularly groundbreaking observation, but I don’t think we see it that much in comedy these days. There was a scene right at the beginning of the play where for a good 2 or 3 minutes the actors stood awkwardly in silence, taking in the weird white painting. The level of pure awkwardness may have had something to do with it’s humour, but beyond that, the silence gave the audience the opportunity to take in the painting with the characters and imagine what they were thinking. Like when reading allows you to fill in the pictures, silence in a visual medium can let the audience fill in the words.
2) Sometimes being understated makes more of an impact – I feel like we’re all used to entertainment being about important people doing important things but this play was just three normal blokes talking. I loved that about it. I think when a play (or advert) isn’t trying too hard to be big or important and just reflects reality, it’s easier for the audience to relax into it and feel a connection.
3) Insight is king in every piece of communication – There was one scene in the play where 2 of the characters had a 10 minute rant about the deep meanings and nuance in the way the other man’s wife waved away cigarette smoke. Though it sounds stupid as I write it, it actually made perfect sense. It worked because although we’re all aware of the importance of body language, no one actually goes to the trouble of explaining it. Like all observational comedy, by pointing out something we all know but never articulate, it made a real connection with the audience.
I think tickets might have gone up in price now, which is a shame (though I’d definitely recommend going if you can) but hopefully after reading this SCAB you can rest safe in the knowledge that you’ve gained some dotty goodness without having to spend a penny.