Echoes: more Austin Powers than Black Mirror

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In scena al: Teatro Argot dal 28 novembre al 3 dicembre

Durata: 55'(senza intervallo)

Prezzi: € 8-12

Regia: Stefano Patti

Echoes starts promisingly, with a polo-necked, suited man in glasses staring creepily down the length of a metal table at a bound and hooded figure wearing large headphones. The music playing over the sound system is presumably the same as that playing in the ears of the hooded character; a disturbingly distorted recording of the country classic Stand By Your Man.

What looks at first like an interrogation turns out to be a pre-arranged meeting in a secret bunker. Marco Quaglia plays the suited bad guy, a camped-up Bond villain who has just bombed over a million people (“one million, seven hundred and thirty-two”) to death. Stefano Patti is the earnest journalist who wants to know why he did it.

We hope that along with the answer, we’ll learn more about their world, a dystopia in which clean air and drinking water are black market commodities but journalism is still a thing and wealth inequality is the most pressing issue of the day.

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Instead we are subjected to a frustratingly circular back-and-forth in which concepts like love, God, power, and fairness are picked up and tossed around, and then confusedly dropped moments later. It feels as though the playwright wanted to reveal deep truths about the human condition but didn’t know how, so hoped that just having the characters passionately say (and often shout) meaningful-sounding words would do.

I was holding out for the plot to come together, but in its final minutes the play descends into total and unintentional parody. It made me want to see an actual deliberate parody of the overwrought relationship drama (see Chelsea Peretti’s Rain’s Comin’ In for a perfect example of this in radio form).

There are a couple of moments of tension and some laughs from Quaglia, but slick production values and decent acting can’t save this play from its clunky, nonsensical script, which is more Austin Powers than Black Mirror, with elements of Star Wars and Watchmen thrown in. The overall effect is amateur, which is a shame given the obvious talent involved.

Gradimento Autore: 5.5/10 (Interpretazione: 7/10; Scenografia: 8/10; Sceneggiatura: 2/10)

Interpreti: Marco Quaglia, Stefano Patti, Alice Spisa