“The concept is great, and the thought behind it commendable”
#Realiti is a new take on the television programme Big Brother, where we see five housemates get to know each other, while their every move is watched and tweeted about by the world. And of course, one by one they get voted out of the house.
What the actual “prize” is for the winner though, doesn’t become clear right until the end of the piece. On one hand this is frustrating because I spent most of this performance trying to work out what was going on, but on the other hand it was somewhat masterful, as many of the questions I had throughout were resolved in the final moments, and it does stay with you long after leaving the auditorium.
Slowly each character’s reason for being in the house is revealed, and it becomes clear that it isn’t your ordinary big brother house. While for some their backstories and motivations were very apparent, for others we didn’t learn very much at all, so it would have been good to have a structure that allowed for a more comprehensive introduction to each, and a greater sense of their relationship with each other. At no stage was it clear how long any of them had been in the house, or indeed what time period the performance itself covered, but perhaps this was unimportant if the purpose was to get the audience to focus more on the wider concept than the details. If so, unfortunately its subtleties were lost on me.
Indeed, one of the main downfalls of #Realiti is how complicated it is to grasp. A very wordy piece performed by an Italian company in Italian, naturally it is somewhat more difficult to access than it might be for a native audience. There are subtitles on the screen at the back which do help, and perhaps this would have been fine if the concept itself had not also been quite obtuse, but the two together made it quite a strain on the brain.
In saying all that, the acting isn’t bad: there’s a great range of emotion on display and in the sections where each character has a “solo” to camera at the front of the stage we do feel very drawn in to their world and are able to develop an emotional rapport with them. The tensions between some of the characters is palpable, while the final scene where the big reveal happens is also very moving.
The concept of this show is great, and the thought behind it commendable. However, the delivery of it needs much more work to make it accessible to an audience, and a clearer idea of what the audience is supposed to think or feel by the end would help navigate this piece out of obscurity.
Reviewer: Steve Griffin (Seen 28 August)
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