**coming to the North Wall, Oxford: Friday 24th - Saturday 25th September, 8.00pm**
This is a review of The Author, a play that took place in the Traverse Theatre in August 2010; however, wherever the play may tour it is in fact set at the Royal Court Theatre. A man in the auditorium looks closer at a review he pulls out of his bag of an earlier production of the show, and it is blank, for there are no words as strictly speaking there is no play. Lift music is played as the audience sits facing each other waiting for something to happen and after a short time two people walk out. It turns out that the review the man is looking at is of one of the writer’s previous plays and some of the actors from this show sit amongst us and chat. On this occasion one audience member genuinely builds up her part and derails some of the threads of an argument the cast of the previous play have begun to spin. This is of no consequence. The acorns of ideas this seemingly-innocent group discussion plants grow sturdily into sinister shapes in the mind soon enough. A crime has been committed, arguably in the name of theatre. With a subtle twist at the end, this is revealed and the audience is left alone, literally wondering how to respond. Some applaud and some stay silent in the absence of a curtain call. The big question still up in the air appears to be: does the catharsis experienced in the room mean the crime is forgiven?
Mellow music has been played during pauses in the discussion, there has been darkness and a song but then an usher opens the door and it is time to go for The Author has left the building. In the lobby area later the audience recognise each other and do not leave straight away, clinging to the same conversation topics. Post-show discussion revolves around making sense of what we have just seen inside the theatre, but there do not seem to be any words to describe it.