5 August 2005

Will Smith - Misplaced Childhood

Heard him last year on BBC Four's broadcast from the festival and in his 10 minute bit he was quite good and very posh (what do you expect if you live in Jersey?). He's won a few nominations and a newcomer award over the past year so I decided to give him ago. Although it seems like I'm setting you up for a fall I'm not, he was quite good although there are two key areas the ruined the show. First off he over ran by 15 minutes which meant that his material looked thin and it seemed like he was wandering at times. The second is far more important - he broke character far too many times! There is a word used in "professional" wrestling circles (i.e. scripted, not like amateur stuff in the Olympics) called "kayfabe". That basically means staying in (good or bad) character and it applies when being interviewed or arriving at the venue et cetera. To break kayfabe is very naughty indeed. Now imagine how noticeable it would be if one of them broke kayfabe during a performance. Will Smith's character is a slightly twisted version of himself that is trying to resolve issues with his "misplaced childhood" and suppress and bad thoughts or experiences (e.g. losing his first true love). Sadly he broke kayfabe all throughout his show. He seemed to be in character for 5 minutes and dissolve out of it for the next five. After the pieces of VT he showed us he was very much back in character but he'd slowly drift out of this excitable inner child ("I'm the winner!") to a more mundane, documentary like persona that he's really like. His props clearly took a long time to prepare (especially VT of him interviewing Fish, the lead singer of some rock band called Marillion). If he tightens up his performance (after all this was just a preview) and stays in character throughout it will be a thoroughly enjoyable show. Instead we had to give a few benefits of the doubt and (ironically) use are imagination to see the imaginary world of the character he was trying to project.