03/03/2009 - 04/03/2009
Written by James Amos
Directed by Katrina Chandra
ALAN TURNED 21 ON THE 11th OF SEPTEMBER 2001.
NO ONE CAME TO HIS PARTY.
THIS IS HIS STORY.
Conspiracy 911 is a comedy, written by James Amos, starring Nik Smythe, Sia Tronkenheim, James Amos and directed by Katrina Chandra. This amusing story plots the years between the events of ‘9/11’ until sometime in the near future.
The main character, Alan, goes crazy with worry after no one comes to his 21st birthday party. As a coping mechanism he begins to research the events surrounding that day. But he finds that the information he uncovers is more than he bargained for. Can he ‘handle the truth?’- come and see the show to find out!
This is the third iteration of this piece having started life as a solo show performed in the 2006 Wellington Fringe.
The Basement (Lower Greys Ave, Auckland CBD)
Tuesday 3rd – Wednesday 4th March
7:00pm – 8:00pm
Wednesday 4th March
12:00am – 1:00am
Tickets available through Aotea Centre Box Office (09) 357 3355 or www.buytickets.co.nz
The Auckland Fringe runs from 27th February to 22nd March 2009.
For more Auckland Fringe information go to www.aucklandfringe.org.nz
Light-hearted gloss on darker threads of conspiracy hysteria
Review by Jessie Kollen 04th Mar 2009
9/11 meets 1984. From Prozac, Building Seven and Freemasonry to shape shifting lizards, there’s a conspiracy in this play to suit every budding theorist.
Conspiracy 911 is written by James Amos and directed by Katrina Chandra and begins with a young man named Alan (Nik Smythe) the night of his 21st birthday on September 11th 2001. His party is a failure; none of his friends come because they are all at home in front of their televisions, watching the planes as they crash into the towers, over and over again.
After his birthday Alan starts having panic attacks. He is disillusioned when he seeks help from psychiatrist and receives not the kind of help he expected, but instead is given a bottle of Prozac. Alan then decides to get on a bus and ride until everything just goes away; sitting on the back seat he becomes so desperate that he prays to God. God dutifully sends him a sign, in the form of the entertainment section of the newspaper and Michael Moore’s film, Fahrenheit 911.
This movie changes Alan’s life forever and draws him, and his goofy ant-obsessed best friend, Smell (charmingly played by the play’s author James Amos) into a brave new world of questioning the powers that be. When Alan meets the house-bus driving, peppermint tea-drinking over-active activist Moonbeam (a suitably impassioned Sia Trokenheim), she introduces him to a host of other conspiracy theories and theorists, including one of her heroes of conspiracy activism, David Icke.
The play’s slightly awkward start had me paranoid about more than just conspiracy theories; a problem with the house lights and the lead actor’s rushed delivery lost some of the lines and started me worrying whether a good storyline would accompany this exploration of one man’s over-acted paranoia, or if I would freeze in the theatre’s over-cool air conditioning waiting to find out. But once the actors warmed up the air-conditioning lost its icy power and the audience started laughing.
All the extra characters are played by James Amos and Sia Trokenheim, basic props are creatively incorporated, and unashamed use of sock-hand puppets gives an overall effect of home-made black comedy. But this is as it should be, when the play hinges on the notion that there are global powers that control us even in our own homes.
Conspiracy 911 is a short piece, only about 60 minutes in length, but the writer’s loving attention to detail gives the stereotyped characters fullness and quirky humour. The tidy storyline gives some meaning to the ideas of global control and individual power of choice. The light-hearted gloss on the darker threads of the story allows the audience to laugh but at the same time gently prompts us to consider the future of our society, or if there might be a grain of truth in amongst all the conspiracy hysteria.
Perhaps after watching this play some members of the audience may begin to question what forces are controlling their lives, but even if they don’t question anything I have little doubt that after seeing Conspiracy 911 you may never again be able to feel comfortable watching a certain television show called The Price Is Right…
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