A party girl whose life is in a downward spiral slows things way down to attend a 10-day, silent meditation retreat, and spiritual enlightenment ensues.
Should you see it?
After endless traveling, unenthusiastic university study and a summer as a bartender, Devon More realized that she needed to turn her life around. In order to do this, she signed up for a ten-day silent meditation retreat, even though she’d never meditated in her life. This decision is shocking, even now, given that More is a ball of restless energy and it’s very hard to imagine her managing to sit still for hours at a time.
More is a very energetic performer, and draws you in with her positivity. And yet, her energy changes throughout Silent Party Interlude; it starts out as frantic and all over the place, and ends as calm and contained. Her way of moving is captivating, and Silent Party Interlude definitely includes some physical comedy. After all, this is a show about a hyperactive party girl attempting to meditate for ten days straight.
Silent Party Interlude is punctuated by More’s original songs, which are a nice way of emphasizing her development over the retreat. Her songs are adorable and folksy, and she has a bit of an Ani Difranco spoken word styling to her voice. The narrative did feel like it ran a little long at some points. This is a story that is linear by nature, but it could have used some breaks from its structure to make it more compelling.
This is a show that anyone who has ever been post-grad can identify with; the feeling of not knowing where to go next, the fear of living life as a real adult, and the retreat into pursuits like drinking and sex in order to distract us from living out our life purpose. Silent Party Interlude will make you want to find your own inner peace. After all, if Devon More found it, why can’t we?
Devon More’s music is catchy. I left Silent Party Interlude with the songs in my head for the rest of the day. Also, as a musician, the rhythm’s of her speech in many monologues are lyrical to the point of almost being music themselves. This, plus the command she has over her body and very long limbs, makes More very entertaining and a treat to watch.
The flipside in Silent Party Interlude is the downtime. When Devon keeps the pace up, through those monologues and songs, the show sails along. In the slower moments in between, partly because it’s a slower story, it feels slow. It feels strange to say about a play about meditation, but had the pace been kept clipping along, Silent Party Interlude would have been more of a party, less of an interlude.
I love Devon More’s music and was thoroughly excited to see this show. Unfortunately, there are only a handful of songs interspersed throughout the hour and they don’t really fit in with the narrative. Silent Party Interlude is neither a musical (like Burnt at the Steak or Kitt and Jane) nor a concert with dialogue (like Love + Hate or Cherry on Top). Instead, it’s a play with random songs that didn’t really make sense to me. Unlike Valerie, I obviously didn’t think they emphasized the character’s development – although they were definitely adorable and folksy.
I agree with Valerie’s assessment that the narrative ran long and could have used some breaks from structure to engage the audience. Personally, from the way More’s been advertising the show, I expected a deeper and more interesting exploration of her subconscious and her journey into self-discovery instead of an actual dramatization of ten days of silent meditation.
Another reason I didn’t find this show to be effective was that I didn’t have a good sense of what More was like before her pre-meditation days. She talked a lot about it and showed us a little, but I didn’t get a real sense of conflict or confusion or existential crisis. The reason a friend telling you a story is engaging is because you know and care about that friend. I didn’t get that connection here.
This show has a coffeehouse feel to it, which isn’t bad, but the way it’s told feels more you’re listening to a rambling friend recount their vacation and less like you’re witnessing a storyteller at work. There are more effective storytelling shows at the Fringe and there are better musical shows at the Fringe, so I’d suggest Silent Party Interlude only to those people curious about what it’s like to spend 10 days in silence by yourself.
What did you think of Silent Party Interlude? Did you identify with the post-grad existential crisis? Which song was your favorite? Join the discussion in the comments below!
For more information on Silent Party Interlude, including show times and how to get advance tickets, visit the show page on OttawaFringe.com: http://ottawafringe.com/tickets/silent-party-interlude/