Craigslist, for those unfamiliar, is a site where people can advertise jobs, sell things and also meet people for 'casual encounters' – which basically means no strings attached sex, so I was unsure what to expect from the one man show 5 Encounters On A Site Called Craigslist by Sam Ward.
I think the show was meant to be like group therapy, but I came out more confused than I went in.
At the top of the show Ward asks us to remove our shoes – not sure why, but it was quite nice. He then tells us he has had encounters with women, but these are five stories about hook ups with men. He asks if we have ever heard of the social researcher psychologist Arthur Aron. Aron came up with 36 questions to ask your partner to help you find real intimacy and love. I’m not really sure why this was relevant as Ward didn’t want intimacy with the people he was advertising for on Craigslist. Unless his idea of intimacy is a hook up in a public toilet.
Audience members were asked to join him on stage to help him tell the stories of his encounters, which included them peeling a carrot, rubbing pants on a microphone to popping balloons. This was confusing and distracting to his stories. However all five encounters were more or less the same. The strangers came and left.
In one part of the show, the audience were asked to write on paper what they regretted not saying to someone. You had to to start it by writing 'I just wanted to say' then pop it in a box if you didn’t mind it being read on stage. An audience member was used to read them out, but Ward self indulgently started shouting about himself over them. Upsetting, as some people had clearly poured their hearts out in what they had written and it couldn’t really be heard.
This was followed by Ward unnecessarily taking all his clothes off. I’m guessing it was to bare his soul or maybe he was hoping someone in the audience might be his next encounter. The hour and five minute long show over ran by 20 minutes and I looked forward to putting my shoes back on.
If Ward really wants find love and intimacy with the 36 questions he discussed throughout the show, I’d suggest not going on Craigslist. I think the show was meant to be like group therapy, but I came out more confused than I went in.