Wednesday, January 05, 2011

THEATER: Phobophilia


[Part of the Under the Radar Festival]

Your blindfold is taken off, revealing a man in a suit, standing on a box. He wears a cloth over his head, his arms are held out in Guantanamo-like stress positions. No context is given in this largely silent fifty-minute piece, though there's an implied interrogation (a murmur, piped in from off-stage), with the black-and-white video footage that is projected onto the various slides of a pop-up suitcase serving a dream-like response. These images have a feeling of something out of a Bergman picture (Stephen Lawson and Aaron Pollard compare it to Jean Cocteau); seen at a distance or made fuzzy by the backdrop's texture, they are even less distinct. It has something to do with a man in a city engulfed by flames, finding solace and nightmare in a painting of his own creation as he pursues his savior or destroyer, a fan-dancing cabaret girl. Despite the creative use of 3D cut-outs on which to project moving images, this lifeless work merely hints at Phobophilia's translated promise: "Arousal from fear."

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