Breaking the fourth wall is an increasingly common theatre technique but it needs a certain level of confidence in both your own performance and in how your audience will respond. When Doug Crossley crosses his fourth wall what ensues is a toe-curlingly awkward opening to his play, Give Me One Moment In Time.
The audience are unsure how to respond, are not sure if the show has really started and then Crossley steps back behind the fourth wall to sing a song about a billy goat which has no noticeable reference to the synopsis of his work. There is a clichéd hope that ‘things can only get better’ but he then puts on a set of goat’s ears and things take an even stranger turn.
Thankfully, Crossley does grow into his performance and the play starts to resemble the story the audience were expecting, of a friend who has taken her own life. He acts out a conversation with the friend’s sister which leads to the discovery of ‘the document’; the audience invited to put their own words on the blank paper imitation.
He is clearly affected by his friend’s suicide and there is a raw quality to the work which could only truly come from lived experience. He describes happier times with his friend at drama school and when they decided to write their own play for the Edinburgh Fringe ten years ago, ironically about suicide.
Of course death is not a neat, linear thing and when someone dies at their own hand because they don’t feel they can cope anymore it leaves a trail of destruction which cannot be easily fixed. Perhaps therefore it was a deliberate decision Crossley took to have so jumbled a show with no tangible thread running through it, but for the audience this lack of structure makes a difficult to follow tale.