Calaf’s hilarious performance in Anyday, lifted one-man shows into new heights, pun not intended.
The dynamic performance did not only gain physical momentum from Calaf’s character being catapulted into the air by a trampoline but from the relentless comedic moments that energised the show. The dishevelled set that held three main elements, three plant pots erected around the trampoline that suspended a bird cage, a frame and a lamp over it, encompassed the deranged nature of the character who shuffled around the stage for the duration of the audience settling in with an intense fixation on bird feed. At this moment, the imminent absurdity of the performance became clear as I realise that all my expectations for the show had been forgotten.
From the start of the performance, the audience was immediately given a special role in the character’s universe as he began feeding the front row members bird feed.The strength of the show was in the character’s ability to be spontaneous in all his movements, Calaf’s movements felt unexpected as though everything was a happy mistake which fostered a strong connection with myself as an audience member. From the taking off and putting on of clothes whilst jumping, to the hilarious moment when he tries to drink water whilst being suspended in the air, every piece of the set played a large role in executing a spectacular feat of comedy and acrobatic talent.
Behind the roaring laughter a darker element of the performance dawned on me as I recognised the fluffy small sphere which he introduced to us at the start of the performance as his pet bird was his sole companion in an extremely lonely world. The treatment of the lifeless object by throwing it food that fell straight to the ground and beckoning it to fly with no success made the show increasingly surreal as I began to question whether even I am meant to perceive the object as real, and maybe the character has imagined the presence of a companion. With each movement Calaf makes, he looks to the bird for recognition but with no reciprocation. The performance swiftly became an exploration of the character’s psyche which elicited great pity from me.
The original score by Calaf adds an essential stroke to complete the tapestry, supporting the show with percussion beats accompanying the jumpy sounds of an organ. The whole performance felt like an ode to slapstick but with a dark twist at the end that undoubtedly sent chills down everyone’s spine. Calaf executes a fantastic performance showing that all you need is a man, his bird and a trampoline.