Victoria Fringe Festival 2017 – Six Fine Lines
Review by Tony Carter – Showbill.ca Staff Writer
September 1, 2017
Creative non-fiction is the youngest literary genre, and it is probably the hardest to pin down. It contains elements of fiction, poetry, and journalism without cleanly fitting into any one of those categories, and it often has to justify its own existence as something separate from them. Mack Gordon’s Six Fine Lines cannot be described as anything other than creative non-fiction.
Gordon calls it a “Memoir Game Show” on his website, and before opening night referred to it as “a living room show.” From the very beginning he draws attention to the artificiality of the show’s structure, specifically explaining it to the audience alongside chapter cards. The meat of the show consists of highly personal monologues on the nature of loneliness and loss, passages of poetry or short fiction, and game shows. Yes, actually.
Gordon punctuates the philosophical digressions with The Newlywed Game and Family Feud that incorporates audience participation. He even offers gifts to the people who participate, such as a pizza that was delivered to the venue in the middle of a round of Family Feud. It marks a perfect counterbalance to show’s more dramatic aspects which allows the audience to drink in the retrospection without dwelling on it. This is especially important because the more dramatic aspects leave blank spaces where characters or dialogue might be in a different show, and the result demands that the audience fill them in on their own. Or, as Gordon puts it, we “make detectives of each other.”
Gordon’s control of the mood in the room was even more impressive given that the majority of his props were blown up in a van in transit to the festival and, as such, he was forced to improvise even more than usual. If the creativity on display at opening night is any indication, then following performances promise to be even more amusing and achingly introspective.
Six Fine Lines is a living, breathing collage. By combining disparate components, Gordon creates a portrait of something resembling a whole while still ensuring that whole will look different to each person who sees it. It is a uniquely personal theatrical experience.
Level-Headed Friends Productions
Created by Mack Gordon
Victoria Fringe Festival
Venue 6 (Fairfield Hall)
- Sept 1 @ 5:00pm
- Sept 2 @ 8:15pm
- Sept 3 @ 9:15pm