OUT OF THE BLUE
solo performance · peter massey · Ages 17+ · world premiere · one person show · 1hr · United States of America
What I liked
In the end (of this show, anyway) I stood up and left the theatre feeling someone good and smart had shared a very personal story to which I could all-too-easily related. He’d shared his pain, and I found it mirrored my own. He shared likewise a source of healing, which I truly feel may prove helpful as my own body and faculties decay. It felt like having a profound conversation with a friend.
What I didn't like
Nothing I can see.
My overall impression
Aging seems mundane as dramas go, especially among those who lead otherwise good lives. Making such entertaining and genuinely moving presents something of a challenge, one met by Peter Massey in Out of the Blue with a deceptively easy skill.
Part of the charm of this show is the performer, who combines several qualities that watching and listening to him pleasurable. Massey has an expressive voice, a limber and expressive form, and clearly understands precisely what he’s saying (this is a startlingly major problem with most uneven performances). The slideshows projected onto the wall behind him punctuate events and ponderings, and the scattering of basic furniture (painted with a lovely—and appropriate—night sky pattern) all add up into an artistic whole. No really, not a wrong note anywhere.
What we the audience receive therefore, amid his description of emotional tremors amid events as well as a growing awareness of his own changing physical state with time, becomes a meditation. A meditation blended with memories, not merely of events but also of how these have shaped an emotional life. Such so often is left unexamined, relegated into the categories of “unimportant” or “already understood with nothing more to learn.” Which one tends to cause more damage remains a matter of opinion. I suppose it depends on context.