The Event
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The Event
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The Man stands in a pool of light on the stage. He is an actor. We know this because he tells us so, but also because our past experience tells us that this is what actors do. He appears to be intelligent, but this might just be clever direction.
The Event is a deceptively simple piece of theatre, which playfully but profoundly leads us to question, not only the nature of reality, but the very nature of existence itself.

...a remarkable, witty, irreverent and poignant introspection.
- KCMetropolis.org

Absolutely superb theatre that lives long in the imagination and deserves to be the top of any must see list!
- The Mirror

This cutting-edge theatre carves out a formidable place in the Kansas City arts community and with The Event, Bob Paisley has single-handedly proven this again. Paisley drew in the audience from the first line, and he held them rapt to the last.

'The Event' is pure, refreshing theater


The Kansas City Star


First, the easy part: You've never seen a theater piece quite like "The Event."

Bob Paisley, co-founder of the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre, first saw John Clancy's one-actor play at the mother ship of all fringe festivals in Edinburgh, Scotland. It fascinated him, as it should have, and he resolved to learn the piece and perform it himself.


Since then Paisley has acted the show in Kansas City, New York and Britain, and now he's doing it again for the KC Fringe Festival. If I could see a festival show twice, this would be the one.


Performing as John Robert Paisley, the actor plays an actor with no name who describes in precise, often ironic and sometimes hilarious language just what's involved — emotionally, psychologically, philosophically - in performing for an audience.


At this point you may be thinking: Oh great; a theater piece about the theater; give me a break. In most cases you'd be right. But "The Event" is its own animal, unlike anything I've seen.


Paisley's challenge is to play a character who is not defined except by his relationship to his audience. Everything that happens happens in the moment. There's no "back story," no questions of "motivation."


For 60 minutes Paisley holds the stage, bare except for the appearance of a chair about midway through, and describes his relationship to the audience, his relationship to the unseen man in the control booth and the relationship between himself as an individual and the character he embodies.


And he analyzes the makeup of the audience. Some will be attentive. Some will nod off. Some will surreptitiously glance at their watches. The audience may also include "professional observers" — and Paisley couldn't resist glancing directly at me toward the end of this section — who will go away and write down their thoughts, which may influence others to attend or not attend, which is what I happen to be doing at this very moment.


Occasionally Paisley appears to forget his lines, but it's really just part of the script. Or is it? Paisley and the playwright toy with the audience's expectations and assumptions. At every turn the lines stimulate our imaginations. Every moment gives us something to think about.


Paisley's performance is memorable for its clarity. Every choice is precise. Nothing gets lost in the haze. Every word counts. Every line affects the viewer.


The play may seems to be about the act of creating theater but ultimately it's about much more. It's about something fundamental in human chemistry that makes us want to communicate, to perform, to tell stories — all in the hope of making sense of the universe and discovering what our purpose here may actually be.


And it's accomplished by one actor, alone on a stage. This is pure theater, and how refreshing it is.



John Clancy – Writer of the words The Man speaks

John Clancy is an Obie award winning director and a partner in Clancy Productions, a critically acclaimed international theatrical touring and production company. He is the founding Artistic Director of The Present Company, a leading Off-Off Broadway theatre company and a founding Artistic Director of The New York International Fringe Festival, North America’s largest theater and performance festival.  He currently serves as the Executive Director of the League of Independent Theater, the advocacy organization for Off-Off Broadway.  


His plays have won The American Shorts Contest, The San Francisco Playwrights Center Dramarama, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe First and have been short-listed for the Julie Harris Playwrighting Award and the Actors Theatre of Louisville Heideman Award.  He has directed six Scotsman Fringe First winning productions at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and two Best of the Fringe Award winning productions at the Adelaide Fringe. His shows have played the Menier Chocolate Factory (London), The Helix (Dublin), The Traverse, (Edinburgh), The Tron (Glasgow), the World Stage Festival, (Toronto), The Belvoir Street Theatre, (Sydney) and PS 122, the Ohio Theatre and Barrow Street Theatre in New York City.


He serves on the Advisory Council of The New York Theatre Experience, Inc., the city’s preeminent resource center for downtown theater. He is a New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspect and was awarded The New York Magazine Award in 1997 for “creativity, enterprise and vision”.


In 2002 he received a Glasgow Herald Angel for excellence in direction at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. In 2007 Clancy Productions was awarded the inaugural Edinburgh International Festival Award.   


He lives on the Lower East Side with his wife, Nancy Walsh.



John Robert Paisley - The Man who speaks the Writer’s words


Bob Paisley is an award winning actor and director, working with theatres across the United States and Canada.  Favorite roles include Teach in American Buffalo, the title role in Faustus (LA Dramalogue Award), Tom in The Glass Menagerie, Billy in Billy Bishop goes to War, Pilate in …Superstar and Heisenberg in Copenhagen. TV and film credits include, among others, The Rosa Parks Story, The Empty Acre, Scene of the Crime (CBS) and General Hospital.  He is a founding member of Another Theatre Company in Halifax, Nova Scotia and the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre in Kansas City. 


He has directed productions for Theatre West Virginia, the Birmingham Children’s Theatre and Neptune Theatre, Our Town Theatre Group. He lives in Kansas City with his wife Karen and their children Holland and James.