Monday, February 7, 2011
Interviewing the Audience **
The Vineyard Theater is presenting L.A.-based screenwriter/director Zach Helm in a theatrical curiosity inspired by a work that Spalding Gray performed for several years. Zach inteviews three audience members for about 20 minutes each. In some sense, there is little point in reviewing the event since each performance is different. Nevertheless, I will describe the performance I attended. Helm chose three men to interview -- a college student, a middle-aged man and a senior citizen. Each interview began with the question "What brought you here today?" From that point, the interviews headed off in different directions. The college student realized that his "major" had in effect chosen him. The second man has a husband and three children that they are raising in a complicated network of six parents. The retiree has a son he broke ties with and an adopted son with special needs that he has worked hard to provide for. Helm knitted the interviews together with the question of whether we choose our lives or discover the lives we have chosen. Helm's interviewing technique is deceptively low-key. He managed to demonstrate that everyone has a story. Whether you will find it entertaining depends on how interested you are in the lives of others.