Saturday, October 06, 2007


Photo/Aviva Meyer

You'd have to be a foolyheadgirlthing to write a play set in an absurdly fictitious (but not improbable) cabaret in the Weimar Republic (1923) and to then quote Oscar Wilde's maxim: "All art is quite useless." You'd need quite a pair of balls to brag about how the expressionist theater company, the Kinderspielers, "dare to entertain you by completely wasting your time." And you'd need to be awfully clever to make a critic one of your characters, especially if her theory is that "frivolity is serious business."

I guess that makes Kiran Rikhye a large-balled, awfully clever, foolyheadgirlthing: her latest work with Stolen Chair Theater Company, Kinderspiel (child's play) is a double-bill that is avant-garde Cabaret ("infantile improvisation" meets lesbians and garters) when it comes to presentation, and starkly satirical when the plot is narrated to us "children." The play not only stands as a testament to the insane depression of the Weimar era, but illustrates the similarity between genius and insanity, and the odd power of art to transform one's perception of reality. Furthermore, by adding a journalist, Rikhye is also able to make an point about the danger of an explanation, with her mind clearly in favor of spontaneity and personal experience. (Do we demean things by giving them meanings?)

[Read on]

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