This one man show cum power point presentation certainly deserves its place in the Writers’ Festival: It is full of words – big words, clever words, funny words, convincing words, rhetoric, repetition, allusion, verbosity, a sometimes empassioned barrage of language written by Richard Meros and adapted by actor Arthur Meek and director Geoff Pinfield for the stage.
The stage in question is the Philip Carter Auditorium at Te Puna O Waiwhetu/Christchurch Art Gallery, an ideal venue for this style of theatre, though sadly inappropriate for most other theatre. Tonight it was three-quarters full of chuckling and squealing spectators, most of whom seemed to be highly entertained by this satire which, as the title suggests, thoroughly explores the thesis that Helen Clark, in order to ensure the future political and economic success of our beautiful country, ought to take Richard Meros as her young lover.
If satire has the twin goals of entertainment and incitement to political action, this particular example of the genre swings heavily towards the entertainment end of the spectrum. Meros suggests that one of the conditions of Helen Clark taking him as her young lover, and one of the problems that will be solved by their resulting union is the apathy and helpless individuality of his generation. With Helen Clark as ruler in perpetuum and Meros at her side, life will finally have meaning for “the generation whose only dream is to have a dream.”
With Meros as its apolitical anti-hero, the play manages to blithely poke fun at most issues, politicians, parties and cultural icons while avoiding any position outside the realm of the ridiculous, performing frothy heights of excitement while side-stepping real passion or commitment – precisely the condition that Meros identifies in himself as New Zealand’s only university educated, unemployed virgin between the ages of 18 and 26.
It is funny, cute and clever, the humour has a wide appeal, with everything from sudden references to dead philosophers to jokes about rugby and “Lord of the Rings”, but I’m not sure you’ll find yourself mulling over the deeper issues later that night or in the shower the next morning.
You can see On the Conditions and Possibilities … at 6pm Friday and Saturday, $20 or $25 at Te Puna O Waiwhetu/Christchurch Art Gallery