Victoria Fringe Festival 2017 – The Man Who Sold the World
Review by Grace Eccleston – Showbill.ca Guest Writer
September 4, 2017
Content Warning: Suicide and globally traumatic events.
From the dark bolts a middle-aged man who is drowning in fear, confusion, and anxiety. In his show, The Man Who Sold The World, David Ortolano paints with grandiose fervor an “alternate reality” in total chaos. Haunted by images of pillaged innocence, this is the story of a nameless man who is only trying to understand what is happening to and him, and, in the grander scheme of things, to explain what truth and reality are.
The presentation, as a whole, is very jarring. One moment, Ortolano stutters through a disjointed tale beginning with his own suicide. The next, he descends into circular babble, as though he’s fallen into talking with the voices in his own head. At some moments he’s screaming, as if trying to wake the world – followed immediately by haunting silence and an empty stare. This is a gut-wrenching performance, and one not easily given. Ortolano puts so much passion into every word and action, that you will very likely understand him better than you thought possible when you walked in the door.
This show is also not driven entirely by words or acting. His audience is part of the show as well–shaking hands, and answering simple queries that we often don’t think on much, beyond the obvious. It’s singing and dancing; and can the man ever sing!
Ortolano spoke briefly about where the inspiration for this piece and its origin as a response to the tragedy of September 11, 2001. The overwhelming force of confusion, fear, anger, and deep sadness are portrayed here in a shocking grade of parallel.
This is a show worth testing your comfort zone for. You will leave in awe.