Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Frigid 2009: habeas corpus

When Kim Harmon and her collaborators Denzil Meyers, Lauren Briggs, and Wilson Novitzki, ask you what you'd like to get rid of, they're not talking about our physical tendency to be consumerist pack rats. Instead, namedropping Kierkegaard, they're talking about what sort of habits, hindrances, and haunting memories we want to get past. It's PostSecret Live, performed with random musical strums on a guitar, weird renditions of the Beatles ("I'm So Tired"), and random koans ("ego is the keeper of my soul"). It's a loose collage of memories, from that of a man jerking off on a public bus ("mental rape") to a stranger's crazy, intrusive conversation while on the train. It's not that good, but it's at least interesting.

In avant-garde tradition, these thoughts are physicalized--blue tape is laid down to map out boundaries and keep out intrusions. (So are headphones.) Meyers becomes a saran-wrapped mummy, modeling the way in which we freeze--and how we need to find the strength to move on. An abstract scene in which a woman takes a hammer to her lover's gift is replayed with several variations, as we consider what it means to so casually throw something away. And, of course, actors speak over one another, theoretically showing the way everything happens all at once--that we do not live in little worlds of monologue bubbles.

There's a nice, heartfelt twist, but it doesn't stop the play from feeling rather preachy, nor does it help the various pieces coalesce into anything more than the amateur hour. The company is grasping for something, but by so easily throwing out anything--including audience-submitted information--they fall a little bit short.

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