Wow. Amazing. So impressive in so many ways.
That’s the title I’m thinking of going with when I produce and perform my one-person show.
And now that I’ve seen Metis Mutt, Sheldon Elter’s one-person show, I know what I need to aspire to in order to earn those accolades. This show, simply stated, blew me away.
The script is beautiful. It takes you on a somewhat expected journey (troubled person tries to become a better person) but never succumbs to story-telling cliche. Inventive transitions from moment to moment, story to story, easily kept me transfixed to what was happening, eager and hungry for what was to come next. Nothing wasted, nothing unnecessary, everything with a purpose and payoff. All manner of emotions are elicited from the script, often turning from deep despair and hearthache to the relief of a joke or laugh, in a heartbeat. Wonderful.
The set design is simple and beyond effective. A background scrim displays images and visual effects that effectively enhance the emotion of each moment and never becomes a distraction. Apart from a mic on a stand, and a simple wooden chair, the stage is bare, perimetered by a circumference of rocks, giving the allusion to a camping ground or sacred space. Simple and beyond effective.
The sound and tech design deserves special mention. The precision of sound, lights, and performance is breathtaking. Seriously, it’s like Formula One Pit Crew tight. Actions and cues are perfectly simultaneous and one can’t help but be impressed. It’s a brave choice to attempt such precision, because if cues are late or early, I’m sure it would quickly take an audience out of the moment and extinguish the mood and emotion so carefully and masterfully built up. Kudos to Elter, stage manager Erika Morey, and the tech person pushing the buttons to make it work so wonderfully. It’s Wonder of the World impressive.
Of course, the script and set design would be for naught if there wasn’t a performance to propel it all. And Elter is a master at telling this story.
Best show I saw this year.