Picture this: a single man sitting on a dark stage, blowing into a bowl of water, filling the room with the bubbly, irritating noise of water beat boxing. Suddenly, the lights come on, only to be followed by the same man and his companion running through the audience making any sort of sound imaginable to the human ear.
It didn’t get much better from there.
I have much experience with the Victoria spoken word community, but The Anthropocalypse, a self proclaimed psychedelic talk opera, written and performed by 2 Dope Boys in a Cadillac members Johnny MacRae and a man named shayne avec i grec, was far from anything I was expecting.
The storyline of the show was fairly straightforward. Two regular guys, after tripping on hallucinogenic drugs, meet and try to spread the word about The Anthropocalypse, and how we as people must survive the downfall of humanity.
But there was no real plot, no building action. Half of the show consisted of the two performers walking through the audience proclaiming that everything they saw was out of this world. “Trippy is the space race unending” and “trippy the hug” were among my personal favourites.
Coming from two nationally ranked slam poets, this show was not everything I had hoped it would be. That being said, the performers did have some points about prevailing issues in the media, and while they might not have been said with the same eloquence that I have come to love from spoken word, they still made a presence.
Between the sound-making and “waterbowling” that made up the majority of the performance, there were pieces of poetry that if performed alone would have been earth-shattering in and of themselves. But mixed with the beat boxing of a stoned hippie, it lost much of its artistic effect.
Parts of this talk opera were memorable, such as the image of Johnny’s face moving back and forth in a bowl of water, but overall it left me with mixed feelings about what I was seeing on the stage.
The show received a standing ovation, something that was, again, not expected. But after talking with my friends, one of whom thoroughly enjoyed the piece, one who did not, I realized that maybe this particular Fringe show just wasn’t my cup of tea. The performance may not be “a dog’s ass rubbed into the carpet,” but it is not a piece that I would see again; however I would still like to see other works by this dynamic poetry duo.