The Fever

Warning: This show is not for everyone. It will challenge even the most liberal of theater go-ers. Free market capitalists might want to look elsewhere. Stay away if you don’t want to your conscience stirred.

June
  1. Sun
  2. Mon
  3. Tue
  4. Wed
  5. Thu
  6. Fri
  7. Sat
  1. 1
    1. 2
      1. 9:30 pm
        The Fever

        See https://theatreinlondon.ca/2017/06/the-fever/ for details.

        Location: Spriet Family Theatre

    2. 3
      1. 4:00 pm
        The Fever

        See https://theatreinlondon.ca/2017/06/the-fever/ for details.

        Location: Spriet Family Theatre

    3. 4
      1. 5
        1. 5:30 pm
          The Fever

          See https://theatreinlondon.ca/2017/06/the-fever/ for details.

          Location: Spriet Family Theatre

      2. 6
        1. 7
          1. 9:30 pm
            The Fever

            See https://theatreinlondon.ca/2017/06/the-fever/ for details.

            Location: Spriet Family Theatre

        2. 8
          1. 9
            1. 8:00 pm
              The Fever

              See https://theatreinlondon.ca/2017/06/the-fever/ for details.

              Location: Spriet Family Theatre

          2. 10
            1. 4:00 pm
              The Fever

              See https://theatreinlondon.ca/2017/06/the-fever/ for details.

              Location: Spriet Family Theatre

          3 thoughts on “The Fever”

          1. Melony Holt
            Reviewer
            says:

            On a minimally set stage, raw violence and anger is where Pat O’Brien takes us, in between bouts of vomiting.

            O’Brien’s mind swells with the thoughts of his life, one which he recalls to be hardly noteworthy. These mundane moments do not define him as who he truly is.

            Over the hour we share together our narrator O’Brien paints a horrific portrait of the struggles of poverty-stricken lives, lives that are nowhere near comparable to his own. He is almost haunted by being seen as rich — rich based on the money he has worked so hard his whole life to make, but inequitably received compared to others who toil far harder for far less.

            Through his fever he nods in and out of dreams that speak volumes of his inner struggle to justify to himself that he deserves what has in his life. He tries to convince himself that he does more than enough to help the poor around him, but he is conflicted by the realization that he could do more — but chooses not to.

            O’Brien is such a talented performer and this story really comes alive with his storytelling. The subject matter is a little challenging to sit through, but it is such a real story that Wallace Shawn has crafted.

            This show will leave you unsettled and questioning your beliefs, your actions, and your lot in life. That’s its purpose — to get you to stop and think about the struggles third-world people go through to produce the good and services we take for granted in our first-world culture, and how we can make changes that would benefit us all — though we actively choose not to.

            *****

          2. Jay Ménard
            Reviewer
            says:

            London Fringe — The Fever: A Crisis of Conscience; A Condemnation of Self-Limited Caring

            The Fever is a compelling story of the lies we tell ourselves — either consciously or unconsciously — to justify the lives we enjoy. Lives that are built upon the foundation of other people’s sorrow. And it’s delivered courtesy of a riveting performance by Pat O’Brien.

            The Fever was written by Wallace Shawn and is brought to life in this year’s Fringe by the much-ballyhooed O’Brien, who previously wowed with Underneath the Lintel. From the moment the show starts to the final word spoken, O’Brien holds the crowd in the palm of his hand and commands attention from start to finish.

            Through little more than his vocal delivery and body language, he is able to captivate the listener and draw him or her into this story of a man, who is trying to balance the beliefs of Marxism with his position of privilege and the choices he continues to make. He struggles with the realization that truths he holds so dear are actually self-delusions to justify the lies that they actually are.

            The privileged O’Brien can live his values, he can make a difference, and he can do more to help the poor that he professes to care so much about — but he struggles with the sacrifice and the false definitions we, as society, have created about what it means to live. Is it right to attend operas and own art, when others are struggling every day just to survive?

            It is an examination of our societal hypocrisy that allows us to live lives of relative luxury granted to us by a combination of historical theft and violence, and maintained through luck of geography and an artificially constructed rule of law that favours the status quo.

            It also offers a scathing condemnation of those most vocal about supporting the poor and the downtrodden, whilst doing little to actually create equality in the world. O’Brien’s character questions how committed he is to actually helping the poor when he consciously chooses to justify the luxuries he has.

            This play is particularly poignant in today’s world where hashtag advocacy is en vogue, changing a Facebook profile picture is considered “doing something,” and professing support for a cause has replaced actually making a tangible difference by working for a cause. It is a play that those who work — from positions of privilege — with the poor would do well to see.

            The Fever is a story of a crisis of conscience — and a story that should give its viewers pause to reconsider what it means to care.

            *****

          3. Barry Brown
            Reviewer
            says:

            Pat O’Brien delivers a fine performance as a man realizing for the first time that his life of luxury and ease in the West is the result of luck rather than merit and, worse, possible only at the expense of the rest of the world. His performance is sufficient reason to see this show.

            The play itself, however, suffers from significant drawbacks. Intended by its author to be performed before small groups in private homes to provoke discussion, it does not translate well into a theatrical production. Put simply, it lacks drama. It is more lecture than play, and a heavy-handed lecture at that. Images of crushed testicles and savage beatings abound.

            The lecture-like quality of the play would be easier to accept if it offered us a new perspective or novel insight into its subject. But it contents itself with pointing out the obvious: the world’s resources are not allocated fairly; the citizens of impoverished countries do not deserve their fate; and we have a moral obligation to do something in response.

            Most troubling is the play’s attitude toward what O’Brien’s character repeatedly refers to as The Poor: a homogenous, pathetic group defined solely by its relationship to the socio-economic class of O’Brien’s character. They are never given an identity or consciousness of their own.

            Thankfully, O’Brien’s performance mitigates the shrill tone of the play and humanizes his character enough that we can sympathize with his plight.

            **

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