The Geek Strikes Back At Plot Inconsistencies With One-Man Show
Opening a one-man show to a hot crowd, Post Productions wants to get them to the geek again.
Originally running at Walkerville Artist Co-Op, local comic actor Rob Tymec is re-mounting A Hero’s Journey Through Plot Inconsistencies at Shadowbox Theatre (located at 103b – 1501 Howard Avenue.) A satirical tribute to geek culture, the one-man show references Star Wars, Star Trek, a sprinkling of Doctor Who and everything in between.
It’s the first of several one-man shows for the venue and a good fit to start the series.
“I would say practicality would be the biggest factor for putting this show on first,” said Tymec. “The show is super-minimalist so it can be run quite easily and won’t get in the way of other productions that are being built in-house. Post also stressed to me that they are looking for productions of a certain level of quality. They want the space to be associated with good shows. They like my work and felt I meet their standards, which was very flattering.”
Having earned rave-reviews with his original run, the show received similar praise for its first of two performances last weekend. It’s title is a geeky reference in itself and used to give the project credibility amongst other nerds. A play off the works of Joseph Campbell, who believes in myth and a hero’s journey, the author also influenced George Lucas as he crafted the screenplays for the original Star Wars trilogy.
Being a part of geek culture himself, Tymec found it easy to incorporate these things into his own work.
“I followed the old proverb: ‘write what you know,'” he said. “I know my geek-lore so I thought I might as well work it into my art somehow. To be honest, I’ve been making veiled geek references in my scripts for years. For instance, I wrote and produced a play a few years ago that involved two Doctors. One was named Peart, the other Lifeson. Those are also the last names of the drummer and guitarist from Rush — a band that has often been referred to as ‘nerd rock”.’ Geeks came up to me after every show telling me how they liked the in-joke so I grew more confident.”
Afterwards, the actor wrote a comedy with a supporting character that was a huge Doctor Who nerd. Running his own Doctor Who blog, this came naturally to Tymec and was a big hit with audiences. After people started suggesting the character take a lead role in his own play, the writer decided it was time to go all out and create a show that celebrates being a geek.
Feeling they enjoy picking apart their favourite things, Tymec came at the one-man performance from the angle of plot inconsistencies. Thinking a show laughing at the genre’s mistakes could be fun, he knew it would be well-received if it came from a place of love.
Being a geek since childhood, the show’s content also made it easy for Tymec to write and perform.
“I suppose I most enjoy the fact that it was very easy dialogue to write,” he said. “I knew all my geek-lore going in. I didn’t have to do a lot of research. I’m very comfortable presenting it. It’s stuff I’ve known since my childhood so it’s a nice nostalgia trip for me.
Performing by himself also came with benefits while rehearsing. Being able to run on his own schedule, the comedic actor worked on lines while driving. Listening to how he’d say things, he could then correct his delivery when necessary. Casting himself in projects he directs, Tymec is good at imagining how his delivery might look as well.
In the end, a lot depends on how honest he is with himself.
“Ultimately, self-directing is about self-honesty,” said Tymec. “As long as you are open, you will get a sense of what is working and what isn’t. So if I’m directing myself along with a cast or I’m just doing it alone – it’s not that hard so long as I’m’keepin’ it real.'”
Although he enjoys reaching people with similar interests, entertaining those who don’t understand the references is an even bigger compliment. To accomplish this, Tymec pitches his material in a way that’s funny to everyone. Keeping the house lights on, he can also see the crowd’s reactions to know what works.
As a result, his June 9 show at Shadowbox was a success. Despite a few tweaks he’d like to make, the crowd responded the way Tymec wanted. If they’re presented correctly, he says that even those who don’t get the references will laugh.
It just might not be as loudly as the geeks in the audience.
“I make a ‘Han shot first’ reference during the performance,” said Tymec, using an example. “Even some people who call themselves geeks don’t know what that great debate is about — google it if you need to get the full background. When I make it in the play, I’m very strong and over-passionate about it so it’s still very funny to watch. Even if you’re not entirely sure what I’m talking about, it’s an amusing visual.”
Feeling he accomplished his job last weekend, Tymec even received positive feedback from a non-geek on social media the day after his performance. It’s something he hopes to do again at the same venue on Saturday, June 16th, at 8pm.
After his next show, Tymec has another production scheduled at Shadowbox in August. Written by Joey Ouellette, he’ll be putting on a one-man version of Homer’s Odyssey. Tymec wants to hammer out some fall dates with Post Productions as well: This could include a show written by Ouellette that he’s performed around Remembrance Day. Dealing with World War I, it’s called The Ace of Suede.
On the comedic side, the comic actor would also like to re-mount the Matt St.Amand written Moon Over Endor: It’s a fake biography about Tymec’s life that he calls wildly inaccurate and utterly absurd.
For those thinking of attending this Saturday’s performance of A Hero’s Journey Through Plot Inconsistencies though? Beyond the music, lightsaber dance and many sci-fi references, people should expect the unexpected.
“It’s a night of fun that celebrates fun subject matter,” said Tymec. “It’s a good laugh with a surprise ending that actually turns it a bit serious. The final moments of the play cause non-geeks to better understand why we love what we love and for actual geeks, it seems to genuinely touch their hearts. I’ve actually seen a few eyes grow misty during my last monologue of the night.”
Those interested in the June 16 performance can buy tickets at the door for $15. Admission is $10 for seniors and students.