I’m in the USA and having finished band practice I take a lift from my friend in his car and we drive down to the river. My name is Mary. Life is pretty much all ahead of us and we both know this. Knowledge which is both frightening and exhilarating.
I am not in the USA and my name is not Mary; I am actually a man. I am getting into a car parked at the back of the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich because I am attending a site specific performance as part of the 2014 #Pulse festival called ‘Back Seat of my Car’ and serendipitously enough the performer, Greg Wohead is an ex alumni of the same drama school that I went to – E15 in East London although I didn’t know this when I was asked to review his performance.
This short interactive piece is inventive, whimsical, emotional and at times, quite terrifyingly intense and demanding of its audience of one, but in a good way. Shrinking violets will be most likely shrinking out of the car doors and it definitely would seem that the audience is self selecting- upon reading the synopsis of this piece, that you will be alone in a car with Greg, only the boldest go forth and ride.
Greg Wohead is perceptive, soft of voice and quietly engaging in personality and confidence, essential in an interactive piece where the audience exerts influence upon what happens.In a work that is tailored to each person, Greg’s ability to swiftly evaluate each audience member, gain some insights into their likely reaction and take them to the edge of their comfort zone is quite an art and not easy to pull off.
The Great American Roadtrip and The Great Wide Open; Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and tailgating; the coming of age novel or film; rivers, roads and River Phoenix; fireflies at dusk and open top cars; the scent of sun hot tarmac and gouts of road dust trailing in your wake- Americana iconography engrained into my classically British childhood and adolescence and evoked by this gentle and nostalgic journey in the back seat of Greg Woheads car.