CincyFringe Review: Aberrant Reflections on the Barbarism of You & I

T-shirts alone are not funny.  T-Shirts on and off the bodies of three talented actors are hilariously sharp.  Artemis Exchange's production of Aberrant Reflections on the Barbarism of You & I premiered on Wednesday and quickly has become one of my must see recommendations of the Festival.

This view is not a conspiracy.  I don't have any connection to the Masons.  The script, an adaptation of a work by Christopher Karr, has a wonderful pace that doesn't get bogged down on anything, but sticks to the outline it creates.    I've never actually seen the TV series Lost, but if you are a fan, I'm not sure if you will find this production to a bit of parody of the TV show or not.  I see an influence from the series as the back drop for the limited narrative.  That adds the framework of the work that has three "captives" (Chris Dooley, Emma Robertson, and Chris Wesselman) forced to act out scenes from an unseen captor.  Each scene pokes holes in some of the most well known conspiracy theories.  Those holes come on both sides of the theories.  They don't disprove them. They do mock some of them, but demonstrate how they can make some sense, when you're isolated.

The set was trashy.  It was full of trash and worked perfectly with the loose narrative, giving the actors a play pen to move around and get dirty.  The action on stage gets just a little bit dirty, but you laugh.  You laugh a lot.  The jokes are heady, but the actors make the material accessible on a physical level. The use of the T-Shirts as identifying costumes is not new, but it really works with the material.

This type of production isn't everyone's style, but try this one out.  It is smart and will bring you along if you let it.

CincyFringe Review: That One Show

Is Dance Movement?  Is Movement Dance?

 

My interest in Dance as an art form has long been lacking.  That interest has grown a bit in recent years, but I always felt that I was shortchanging the form.  Dance to me was more personal, more interactive.  It was something you did with your date at Prom or at a wedding.  Pones, Inc's production of That One Show taps into the meaning of Dance/Movement with many perspectives of what the art form is, and is not.  It looks at what it means to everyone, individually from childhood to the more formal adult expression.

 

They ask the question: What is Dance.  They literally ask the question to the audience and seek answers, to the point of volunteering friends to answer if the don't get a quick response.

 

The show is a true interdisciplinary production that merges video, music, dance/movement, with acting into a well done theme that drives to the audience to come up with an answer.  The video piece is the star of show and include portions of many dozens of interviews done with people answering various questions about their views or memories of dance.  The construct of the film is the backbone of the production.  The movement/dance was a supporting element to the show.

 

"Dancers" will relate to this show, especially dancers who love to dance, but are not going to be asked to be a principle with the Russian Ballet.  I was most interested, as a "non-dancer," in how interested the performers were in understanding what everyone things about Dance/Movement.  The only element of the show I wish for more was that their theme was so open ended.  Yes, that is a position, that Dance/Movement can mean anything, but that is a point of view that I think is unattainable.  There are limits.  I would agree with a point of view that the boundaries of Dance/Movement should be both wide and open to evolution, but at any point in time there are still boundaries of what make sense.  That One Show makes sense, they could be more direct about it.  I would have like to have seen them invite someone from the audience on stage to dance.  I was actually waiting for that to happen and worried that I might be asked.  That tension illustrates part of the history of Dance to me, one with tension, but that is what feel the message ultimately was for That One Show, let go of the fear and just Dance/Move.  I'm going to break out the Footloose Soundtrack and put this idea to work.