5 pound theatre and Melbourne Fringe present a story of thought provoking substance and significance. Man of the Year explores our long relationship with violence and, indeed,  our propensity for it.

For director Tim Wotherspoon it becomes…”the curious compulsion humans have to act upon their world or their reality… to make an impression for the sake of making an impression… probably for the sake of vanity.” Wotherspoon feels that these incidences of humans trying to say something or do something to capture the attention of other humans can have exceptional consequences… depending on the context. In some instances the context is that of Hitler, for example. In 1939 Time magazine named Adolf Hitler ‘Man of the Year ‘ because he was the most influential person of that year…

The play is a snap shot of some of history’s great speeches, and some of the world’s best speakers. What soon becomes clear is that all these great moments in time are intractably linked to mankind’s long violent struggle. A perpetual cycle that every now and again spins out of control.

The significance of this work is palpable but, says Wotherspoon,  All theatre is significant

“Critics might tend to disagree in certain instances – but ultimately it is the manifestation of something that needs to come out of someone’s head… or someone’s being, even – the significance is imbued by the world that feeds the individuals in the first place. It is intrinsically locked to the our common humanity and understanding of reality… Also, the writer has a fascination with effective oratory throughout the ages – if you share a love or fascination of good oratory, it’s probably up your alley.  General audiences are generally swayed by good oratory for good or bad effect…”

This is a one man show, featuring 5pound theatre’s Artistic Director Jason Cavanagh who is a veteran of over 40 different productions in his 18 years of being a creative. Cavanagh is embarking on a new frontier with this one as it is his first one man show.

“I’m not entirely sure what is going to happen on that stage. At times it’s like the material is creating me instead of the other way around. It is thrilling, scary and a little bit crazy, but then that’s what we’re going for,” says Cavanagh.

Wotherspoon addresses some of the challenges that the script may pose simply because of the responsibility given to one character to tell the tale.

“It is the same fundamental concern of any composition – how best to render meaning through the elements of performance. A major part of this is attention to rhythms – rhythms of speech, of pacing, movement – or to put it another way, patterns – the flow of the patterns which make the piece… where do they break?  When does tension break and what breaks it? What is the quality of the event that breaks rhythms and starts others? Ultimately it is an exchange – irrespective of how many actors are at play – the exchange of energy, the transmutation of that energy into sensations, ideas, questions, impressions etc. in an audient’s head or in their body, if the work is visceral – that exchange is something that must make itself worthy and I believe it can only do so by being relatable – and curious enough to be intriguing.”

As a creative, Wotherspoon is drawn to any worthy investigation of ideas that has the promise of some dramatic gratification or artistic payoff. Man of the Year promises to deliver all this in spades. His view is that if humanity is of interest, or language… perhaps it’s not too much to say history also – if you’ve an interest in any of these concepts, it’s probably for you.

September 16 – 23