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Capital Fringe Review: ‘The Post Reality Show: Talk Media!’ by Derek Mong

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The Post Reality Show: Talk Media! claims to be the avant-garde of the avant-garde of the Capital Fringe Festival. While it is true that it is the first ever Capital Fringe performance over webcast and not in-person, it doesn’t quite save the “performance” from being stale at best, completely irrelevant at worst.

The show – which is webcast live from an undisclosed location in Washington D.C. – features host Randall Packer in a dimly lit room with Fox News airing in the background. Packer, a new media advocate, serves as a self-proclaimed “DJ,” playing video clips and guiding the discussion topics each night; simultaneously, audience members are invited to comment on the story in a chat box to the side of the video window, which Packer reads and reacts to on air. This is what Packer claims to be part of the “post-reality.”

Randall Packer.

The medium is supposed to be part of the message, but, in 2012, the entire show could be replaced by a 5-minute reading of the Huffington Post and the comment section below. It’s fitting that the show is called the “post-reality,” because it seems that the concept of the show is completely detached from the 2012 media world that makes watching an hour-long webcast to comment on the news completely impractical.

I watched  “Desert.” It had many technical difficulties and 30 minutes of random footage of the desert. What is encouraging, however, is that each show is different, and Packer does have the opportunity to offer something different during each night’s webcast. Similarly, each night is also slated to be focused on a different topic, which might make the webcast more interesting and fluid as it progresses. Yet, without the guilt of walking out mid-performance at a regular Fringe performance, the ease of clicking the little “x” in your web browser means that Packer needs to make this webcast doubly entertaining to keep the attention of its audience. And I am confident that he will.

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For more information on the times and dates and the topics of future broadcasts, go to our Fringe Preview.

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