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May 20

I'm The Revolution

By Ella Miista
Secrets, we love secrets. We might roll our eyes a bit if there's yet another event at a 'secret East London location' but when it comes to theatre, we're hooked. It can be a bit confusing at times. There's the infamous Punchdrunk in London and NY and the one at the Lyric Theatre. Now there's Secret Theatre London. A slightly more specific name would go a long way but the company's previous work speaks for itself. Under the guidance of Richard Crawford, they've performed Edward Scissorhands, as well as a site-specific adaptation of Reservoir Dogs. His third play Diary Of a Sociopathic Freakazoid was described as 'the American Psycho of the hipster generation.' OK, that's a bit pretentious, right? Surely American Psycho is the American Psycho of the hipster generation? But, we can see he why Crawford's work is compared to the likes of Bret Easton Ellis. In this case it drew more parallels with Less Than Zero but his style is as eerie and entertaining as the American writer's. Before the production kicked off, they held a pre-party. On a Wednesday no less, so unfortunately we never made it. If the rumours are true - and they probably are - it involved a plate of cocaine, tarot reading and serial killer's personal butterfly collection. Sounds a bit weird? Well, it must have been the perfect prelude to the play itself then. Set in the Proud Archivist gallery by the canal in Haggerston, we sat surrounded by the works of the wonderfully talented Pinky Tesfay and what was apparently the biggest lightbox in London. The seats were in a circle around a bed in the middle of the gallery; a sight to make Tracey Emin gleam with pride. Just as we sat down - nearest to the bed, closest to the action, naturally - a loud Australian accent commanded us to the lightbox. 'Pose! Some other girls did Charlie's Angels,' he shouted directions at us. He was friendly, but I'm not sure we were given an option. We weren't just spectators, we were all a part of the show. After a few awkward poses and Instagram pictures of others before the wall, everyone sat down with their wine glasses. The gallery assistant spoke. Dominic Datchio takes the stage, or the bed anyway. Did the play start? It did, and it was spot on. OK, so walking home that evening, I thought the ending could've been better. Writing it now, it doesn't bother me - everything before then struck a chord. Maybe my approach to the American Psycho comparison was too literal? Crawford's take on hipsters was similar to how Ellis saw yuppies. Theatre is so often, too often conventional. Even good theatre! It focuses on universal themes that appeals to all. It's not like universal themes can't pack a punch and take our breaths away, but Crawford went a step further. He made it current. It was like an indictment of the hipster generation, but a humoured one. It was the kind to make you laugh and then immediately feel guilt because you're not sure whether you should be laughing. The issue with the ending wasn't even down to it being bad. It was just that it made me unhappy. I wanted to know more. We were so involved being left in the dark was bothersome. I'm every bit as much a part of it as you are, why can't I know? It's just how immersive the performance was. The lines between life and theatre blurred a lot. There was a girl sat opposite me with a little plastic baggy in her hands. Was she a member of the cast? Was she for real snorting coke during the play? How strange to even be wondering about this. After the play I was stood outside the gallery smoking when an actor joined me. His smile was as warm and giddy as it was in the play. We spoke about acting and writing, and becoming someone else every single evening. With his eyes flashing, he agreed it's hard but everything about him said he loved it. And what's not to love? Every time they take the stage, they see someone change. He might return to being himself as he goes to bed in the evening but great theatre won't allow the viewer to do the same. It will keep them up, wondering; inspired by what they experienced. It's a beautiful thing, whichever side you're on. The troubled Dominic Datchio calls himself a revolution and maybe he is. Buy a ticket, take the ride and find out for yourself. The play runs at Proud Archivist in Haggerston until the end of the month. Get the tickets here. secret theatre london 10382833_588302114600792_7556261638862705823_n secret theatre london secret theatre london
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