Will Eno's "Thom Pain (Based on Nothing)," a one person drama is now in the middle of a run in the Chapel Theatre at the College of Charleston, as part of the Piccolo Spoleto Festival. On Sunday, an audience of less than 20 patiently watched as actor George Metropolis paced about a nearly empty stage, and with the use of an arsenal of pauses -- some dramatic and others not -- managed to stretch 20 minutes worth of a material into 63 minutes of rambling thoughts. He then disappeared during a black-out and did not return for a curtain call.
But, he should have taken his bow. He is a very talented young actor, with good stage presence and excellent diction, who is able to carefully modulate his voice to fit the mood of the moment.
Director, George Patrick McLeer, keeps him on the move, and costume designer, Ellen Troff, has fitted him out in a fashionable blue suit.
Alas, Eno's Thom Pain is not a character, but a swirl of random thoughts, featuring repetitious references to a "little boy and a dog," "magic tricks," "a raffle," "a handkerchief" and "whatever."
After a desperate 40 minutes of begging the audience to respond to his unanswerable questions, Metropolis did manage to lure an innocent white-haired woman onto the stage. He left her in the back of the stage, while he went to harangue the audience from the front of the stage.
When Metropolis has more acting experience, he will know to never turn his back on innocent-looking women, winsome children, or dogs, because they will steal the audience right away from you. This nice woman's facial expressions were a wonderful antidote to the play's pretentious speeches.
Metropolis may very well be one of the College of Charleston's Stelle di Domani (stars of tomorrow), but he will have to find better material to present to an audience.