Pros: Artful script, captivating acting, and effective lighting weave together to create an intense theatrical experience. This monologue is soul-searching and thought provoking.
Cons: Sometimes the pace slides a little, allowing your mind to wander and there is the occasional clumsy line in the script.
The Pyramid Texts is a heart-wrenching, soul-searching monologue from a life-long boxer. Ray (Chris Fairbank) has spent his life in the ring and his boxing gloves form the basis of his world. He carefully sets up a camera, gloves his hands for the fight of his life, and finally confronts his fears.
Throughout The Pyramid Texts, boxing props artfully represent life’s challenges. At first, Ray lectures the audience on how to strap one’s hands for a fight: ‘Protect the tools and they will protect you.’ As the monologue progresses however, it becomes clear that Ray’s attempts to protect himself have caused him great pain. A static punch bag hangs illuminated behind Ray for the duration of the monologue, a constant reminder that our protagonist has finally paused for reflection after of many years of running.
Chris Fairbank gives a captivating performance. His portrayal of Ray is intense and poignant. Indeed, Chris creates a remarkably strong character in a short space of time. Intricate touches, like Ray’s idiosyncratic habit of pulling at his t-shirt neck, create a captivatingly realistic character.
Fairbank’s intense performance couples with Geoff Thompson’s artful writing to create an emotional production. Thompson artfully weaves Ray’s jumbled thoughts to create an intriguing narrative. The audience slowly works out why Ray has chosen to film his innermost thoughts and why he so dearly needs to be honest with his son. What is more, Thomson intersperses his largely sombre material with humorous lines that leave the audience tittering. Each humorous diversion momentarily lightens the mood, only to increase the overall sense of pathos.
Indeed The Pyramid Texts tackles a range of challenging themes, exploring father-son relationships, strength, weakness and the nature of success. The central and most provocative theme, though, is fear. Ray’s own troubled approach to fear can hardly fail to spark some deep introspection from viewers.
Bex Keable-Crouch’s lighting complements the script and Fairbanks’s performance. The audience remains steeped in darkness through, while soft lights illuminate Ray and the punch bag. The technique reflects the slow illumination occurring within Ray’s mind, and the surrounding darkness emphasis the regret and confusion that have filled him for so long.
The Pyramid Texts is, without doubt, a strong monologue. It goes without saying that one-person shows are a tricky genre. Encapsulating an audience for long with a single speech and through a single character is a tall order. Only occasionally does the pace lag, risking the audience’s attention to wander a little. Also, at times, I found some of the more colourful language a little clumsy and isolated. I felt some Ray’s phrasing could be more natural and better woven into the rest of the script.
The Pyramid Texts is soul-searching theatre experience. It’s tragic. It’s emotional. And it’s impressive.
Author: Geoff Thompson
Director: Michael Vale
Booking Until: This play has now finished its run.