Old Bank Residency, Manchester; Thursday 11th July, 2019
“Hello, welcome to the meeting. Please enter your pass code, followed by the hash key …”
“After the tone, please say your name, followed by the hash key …”
The crackling murmur of someone silencing their What I’m Up To At The Weekend Blah Blah Blah Intro Banter Nonsense as the horrifying sound of your own voice bellowing out your own name pollutes the airwaves.
They’re looking at you now, staring at you, even though they’re on the end of a phone; they’re all looking at you. Please let someone else dial in right now and take the limelight. Please.
Lisa O’Hare is on a conference call, last thing on a Friday evening. She’s dialling in, just in case she’s needed.
But she’s meant to be off on holiday. Who organises calls late on a Friday?
“No, no, I’m here, I’ve just dialled in. Hi, hi, yes, hi… yes I’m good thanks yes ….”
And that’s it. No further input from Lisa is needed, well nothing substantial or meaningful anyway. But she still has to dial in.
Just how much can go in the human mind when you’ve dialled into a conference call that you really don’t need to be on? Quite a lot according to Lisa.
Her debut show Fly represents an extraordinary journey, a wild ride through all the possibilities of conference call idle time – the supernatural experience of drifting away from the focus of a meeting that you’re just not that into.
And what a journey it is: Lisa’s existential rambling game is strong. She creates art; she recites profound poetry; she delivers a TED talk to change the world – so much is achieved, much more than the actual work-based irrelevancy droning away in the background.
But is any of it really an achievement if it’s only just in her mind?
“Sorry, I was on mute!..”
Lisa delivers a philosophy which resonates with millions in the modern-day working classes. She astutely observes that we are all absent-minded sufferers of imagination, and that there is no known cure for imagination.
Her’s is a secret world of imagination, an alternative universe that only exists in the middle of a conference call. Are they just daydreams, she asks? Who knows.
“No, nothing from me …”
She can imagine being anywhere but then she can’t really go there. They can’t see her but she’s trapped, even with the headphones on, her mind is free to wander but her body isn’t.
Why did she join this call?? Don’t know, guess it’s just her job.
Fly is a perfect little package of fringe theatre with its Fight The Power ethos and comical outlook on the drudgery of enforced monotony and boredom. So perfectly relatable and so charmingly delivered, one can only hope and pray that Lisa actually, genuinely made good use of the dour monotony of a conference call to spin this little capsule of head-nodding theatrics.
Short, sharp and precise – probably nothing like the awful conference call that she had to dial in to.
“[Lisa O’Hare] has left the meeting.”