XX pronounced ‘kiss kiss’ is performing at Paradise in the Vault at 6.55pm
‘You make me feel like numbers.’ Two friends talk politics over the carcass of a dead dog. A couple find love in the park while their children fight in the sandpit. Pagans gather at dusk in the park for a strange ritual… An exploration into the mathematics of character creation: the actors’ parts and the scenes are randomised by an algorithm at the start of every performance. There are over 36 trillion variations: the kiss kiss calculus. You’ll never see the same play twice. A new piece of experimental theatre by Jack Bradfield.
An intriguing concept – an algorithm deciding at the start of each show which order monologues and duologues will be performed in – maths meeting drama. With talented actors and a number of interesting monologues, XX had the potential to bring something really exciting to the stage. A piece of paper explains to the audience the algorithm a little bit before the play begins. As the audience sitting down the actors weave in between them asking questions that are later easily connected to certain scenes.
As an idea XX is exciting and different but brought to stage it is still ironing out the rough edges. The writing at times was a little stiff – some monologues did not really flow and the algorithm meant that the randomised order wasn’t always the smoothest and often the scenes didn’t link up in an overarching plot well.
However, the abrupt ending really did not sit well with me, switching on the house lights and hustling the audience out claiming the algorithm hasn’t worked and if we just wait outside they’ll resume the play after they’ve fixed it. It felt extremely unnecessary and meant the audience was not able to applause or have a minute to think about what they thought.