Meeting at 33 is a breath of fresh air this Fringe. Presented by Second Circle Theatre, Meeting at 33 is a striking piece of verbatim theatre that leaves behind the corporate world of the festival to focus on real stories, and the effects are eye opening.
The performance focuses on an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting and it takes place away from the hustle and bustle of the festival in a Salvation Army Centre, adding authenticity to an experience which is already unsettlingly informal. The audience are completely involved from the start: queuing and ticket collection is replaced by a waiting area and a tea and biscuits line. This is truly immersive theatre with no beginning and no end.
The many touching true stories are shared with such sincerity it’s difficult to believe you’re part of an audience and that the whole atmosphere has been engineered. From the moment you take your place within the circle of orange plastic chairs, it is near impossible to tell who is an actor. The stories that are told are not sensationalised for theatre, but told plainly in between painfully long silences which make for excellent reflection time.
The principles of Alcoholics Anonymous are also shared, including the welcoming and non-judgmental atmosphere and the twelve step programme – this is key to the success of this piece. Meeting at 33 is a touching hour, conveyed with wholehearted honesty, and is certainly one of the most confronting pieces of verbatim theatre at the Fringe.
Words: Katie Mckenzie
Meeting at 33, Pleasance Courtyard, Aug 3-18, 7.30pm