Monday, March 02, 2009

Frigid 2009: Oens

Earnest as Wilson Loria is, it's not enough for his one-man show, Oens. His ideas are thinly developed, which makes things difficult for such a broad comparison--Columbus's trip to India (which inadvertently discovered America) is conflated with Bush's modern colonization of the Iraqi savages and also with Greek mythology (although only in name, like Athena Rice).

Loria's performance doesn't give us anything more specific: his ballooned costume and clownish makeup seem to reference a foreign culture that is never addressed by the play, and this translation gap even extends to some pantomimed scenes. Even if we correctly interpret his actions to involve scuba diving, we have no idea why he is doing so. (It did not help that his transitions were filled with awkward pauses or that there seemed to be technical problems with his sound cues.)

What was most compelling about Oens was Loria's post-show plea to the audience to remember the actual atrocities that had been committed by our government. Of course, his feeling the need to emphasize the "point" of his play only serves to further illustrate that there was never one to begin with.

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