Was he or wasn’t he? Was that a surrogate or was it Clark with a bucket and a tiny monitor on his head? I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only person in the audience watching Graham Clark’s Not Here (Laugh Gallery), playing at the Toronto Fringe Festival, who was wondering the same thing. And who still didn’t have an answer when the show ended. Maybe he was there. Maybe he wasn’t.
Graham Clark has a weird mind, in the best possible way. He was having a drink with friends and they were talking about how expensive it was to do Fringe shows and how it would be easier if you didn’t have to be there in person. So Clark decided to send a video of his face saying his words and attach it to someone else’s body.
That’s where the surrogate with the bucket and tiny monitor on his head comes in. Clark’s face is on the monitor and it’s about the size of a face. After a while I kind of forgot that it was a video; the surrogate did lots of arm movements so it didn’t look static.
Clark explains that one of the advantages of using video is that when things seem to be getting slow, he can play a clip from Predator. And does.
A little later he tells us about his favourite movie — it’s ok, I’m not going to spoil it — and plays a clip. The surrogate takes out a book and reads while the clip is playing. That’s what I mean about a weird mind: first to think of playing a clip from a movie and then to think of having the surrogate read while the clip is playing. Brilliant!
The show’s theme is death, and Clark wonders why there are really only two options when people die, burial or cremation. He discusses some other ideas that he thinks are interesting and could be viable. Maybe they could be, but they are definitely on the bizarre side.
My favourite part of the show was quite early on when he was talking about Netflix. He had two very funny ideas for improvements that I think Netflix should consider. One was for filters, particularly a relationship filter, and the other was for choosing movies.
The man sitting next to me seemed to be really enjoying the show. After it was over I asked him if he had seen Clark before. He said no, but he has some wonderfully strange ideas. He does. And he’s very funny. Even when he’s not here.
- Graham Clark’s Not Here plays at the Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace. (16 Ryerson Ave.)
- Tickets are $12. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Fringe Club at Scadding Court, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
- Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
- This venue is wheelchair-accessible, with some tight cornering. Accessible seating is in the front row.
- Thursday July 6th, 07:45 pm
- Friday July 7th, 10:00 pm
- Sunday July 9th, 06:15 pm
- Monday July 10th, 02:15 pm
- Wednesday July 12th, 08:15 pm
- Thursday July 13th, 02:45 pm
- Friday July 14th, 07:00 pm
- Saturday July 15th, 09:45 pm
Photo of Graham Clark provided by the company