What if a film often described as one of the worst ever made was taken apart and presented in an hour’s performance as if it was written by the Bard himself, William Shakespeare?
C.A.G.E. Theatre Company (Classical Avant Garde Experimental) have done just this with The Room, the 2003 film written and directed by Tommy Wiseau, the story of a love triangle set in a single room with subplots and narratives that make no sense, and acting which is questionable at best.
It is playing as part of Frigid New York’s Little Shakepeare Festival.
Our writer and director or this stage production is Michael Hagins, and the cast is made up of Kat Santomoreno, Laura Walter, Anel Carmona, Gigi Principe, Josephine Pizzino, Mollie Elyse and Mary Sheridan.
Making the play female-led gives a different dimension to the original Room, which, oh yes, starred the (un)prolific Wiseau as well.
Played for laughs, The ROOM of Falsehood manages to capture the feeling of the original film, which was proactively labelled as a black comedy when audiences failed to take it seriously, while attempting to take on some of the themes of a Shakespearan comedy which has been deservedly underrrated.
The sound balance unfortunately captures a particularly loud laugh from the audience which distracts and detracts from the work of the cast – as this was a livestream it may just be a camera placing issue to bear in mind for future performances.
There is static camera work that is perfectly acceptable and close enough to detect actor expressions when viewed on a television.
For me, it ran out of steam quite quickly but I liked the idea of sending up something which is already a cult film due to its use of the bizarre and unconventional.
It has to be said, though, that sex jokes wear a little thin even when cloaked in Elizabethan-style language.
C.A.G.E.’s ethos to brings classic-themed texts to a modern audience by giving them a new look and feel gives new insight into archaic language, and the writing has a fresh feel without betraying the original concept.
A “love story of the ages” , The ROOM of Falsehood is bonkers, and undoubtedly performed with style (I particularly enjoyed a discussion of drug abuse which was part Bard and part Tarantino in construction, and the characters who just wandered into scenes with rhyme but no reason).
There is one more live performance of this show on 17 Aug at 9pm EST with tickets available here.