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Edinburgh 2002


Seven Affidavits on Authority

Tony Gilland

Seven Affidavits on Authority is a new double-edged comedy by Boston playwright Brandon Toropov. The production was good, the acting was excellent, but the humour was too cynical for my liking.

Seven Affidavits is billed as seven short plays on dominance and submission. The show opens with the wimpy liberal arts graduate who can't find a job, whose resume is laughed at, dissected and binned by every prospective employer until she eventually accepts the most humiliating and badly paid sales job going.

But then, through persevering with the same oppressive employer she eventually makes it and is appointed director of human resources. And it doesn't take her long to laugh at, dissect, tear up and treat with contempt all the resumes that fall on her desk.

Further along there is the radio phone-in programme 'Your Life Crisis Is Your Responsibility' with two husband and wife religious psychologists telling callers to 'find the reality and face it'. They congratulate themselves for being so honest, up-front and responsible. Taking a break from the callers the two presenters get excited about their studio guests Rod Protein and Nancy Gush from the 'Chastity Still Works' project. But Nancy is nervous before going on air and needs to be taken temporarily out of the studio by her friend Rod for a good seeing to before she can perform. Before you know it, all four of them are at it with each other.

I guess the joke was that they're hypocrites, but it's just not that funny. Also included are: the student who has nightmares because of the pressure he is under to get a place at law school; a sketch about the relationship between a woman who was abused as a child and her brother; an Erin Brockovich style tale of a major chemical company polluting the water and causing leukaemia; and one about a couple who finally get pregnant just before they both meet an untimely end.

Some of the characters and their interactions are amusing, but as a whole it didn't work for me - which is a shame because I really liked the actors. The humour seemed cheap and the theme of dominance and submission came across as more like 'life's a bitch!' .


Until August 25: 15.55 (1hr 20mins)


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