Review: The Club 3.0
My name is Tyler Durden and I am currently controlling Van’s body. She’s not aware she’s writing this article. She thinks she’s sleeping in her IKEA bed, reenergizing herself for the next day. She has lied to herself repressing any urges to seek, explore and feel pain instead choosing to live a mediocre life, working a monotonous, soul-sucking job just to afford expensive shit that nobody truly needs. She has deluded herself into believing she’s happy but here’s the truth: deep down, she knows her life is pathetic. That’s why her mind created me, her alter ego.
I am everything she wants to be: reckless, free, an anarchist. When Van is asleep I take over. During this time, I beat strangers to a pulp, I steal human fat to make soap, I start an anti-corporate organization, I blow up…
“Wait a minute!” you say, “This is starting to sound like the plot of Fight Club!”
Well, yes, it is the plot of Fight Club.
The plot of Fight Club is now also the premise of the new play, The Club 3.0 that has premiered in Melbourne as a part of the Next Waves Festival. Conducted by Belgium theatre troupe, New Heroes, The Club 3.0 vows not to be a play. It’s a club where audience members fight, talk and blow up ideas just to build them up again. The Club 3.0, performed by Lucas de Man and Michael Bloos use violence as a means to explore topical issues in society. The piece demands viewers to question what they are fighting for in life and what defines them as human beings.
Don’t expect to be sitting comfortably, merely observing from afar. In The Club, viewers are immersed into the action. The piece successfully uses a mixture of performance, voluntary fighting and open dialogue to generate debate on a series of issues from existentialist crises to contemporary global issues such as climate change and asylum seekers.
A voluntary fight scene features within the piece, providing viewers with the opportunity to physically attack a complete stranger. Obviously there’s less violence in the piece than in Fight Club. The scene is controlled and rules clearly established: no head contact, no groin contact, no alcohol, no drugs and participants must sign a lengthy safety precaution and waiver form to protect the Nero Heroes troupe from legal drama.
As the fights commence, the atmosphere suddenly becomes intense. Everybody watches the two fighters in the ring. Initially they display uncertainty but as punches are thrown adrenaline pumps through their bodies, egging them to fight. Some love the thrill of hitting a complete stranger. Others are more hesitant unwilling to hurt the other party. My friend and voluntary fighter, Grace Cardona, loved it raving, “that was so intense. He didn’t fight easy on me because I was a girl. He was tough and so was I.” Now she wants to fight again and is currently searching for a boxing ring in her local area.
Surprising enough, physical violence was not the highlight of the piece. Rather the performances given by De Man and Bloos demonstrated their talents as both theatre practitioners and men of thought. They weren’t pretending to other characters. They were themselves, two Belgium actors explaining how The Club came to life. The piece’s dialogue was so conversational that at certain moments, the lines became blurred between what was scripted and what was open dialogue from the performers.
I came into the piece, slightly drunk, expecting to be solely entertained. Instead I left the play believing it was a creative, innovative piece that was brilliantly constructed from start to finish. Whilst I did not undergo some poignant revelation about my identity, maybe you will in next showing of The Club 3.0 at the Arts House in North Melbourne.
By Van Adora/Tyler Durden