Will Eno has been hailed as a modern-day Samuel Beckett. THOM PAIN is a good example of why. Personally, I’m not a fan of Beckett’s style; writing about nothing, using lots of words but neglecting narrative – it’s just not for me. But that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate it.
Eno, on the other hand, has piqued my interest with two of his pieces: THE REALISTIC JONESES and MIDDLETOWN. Both of them feature a compelling story, peppered with Eno’s seemingly-random-but-very-intentional-asides. He’s a very interesting writer, with a unique style and good grasp of language.
In THOM PAIN, the story comes second. And that’s probably why I wasn’t in love with the script. That said, CCM Acting Junior Landon Hawkins, the star of this one-man monologue commands the stage in this production. The best way to praise his work is to say that I could totally believe that Hawkins himself wrote this piece; it flows naturally and his own mesmerizing charisma matches well with this unusual play. Hawkins grasp of this kind of material is out of this world and his work here is stellar.
My biggest frustration is that some of the brilliance of Eno – and I’m quite convinced that everything he writes has purpose – flies by so quickly in this seventy minute abstract-standupesque-routine that the audience misses much of it. And that’s probably by design, too. Alas, Mr. Eno is either a genius, a lunatic, or both.
Regardless, the show played to a full house in Know Theatre’s Underground space. It’s a bonafide hit.
THOM PAIN runs one more evening, Monday, August 22nd, at 8pm at Know Theatre. You can check it out for yourself and relish in the experience of seeing a future star by getting your tickets online here.