Sunday, January 13, 2008

Under the Radar: Day 3

- Generation Jeans
Photo/Natalia Koliada

With so much weighty relevance behind it, Generation Jeans doesn't need to be very theatrical. Just like jeans themselves can be an act of rebellion in a country like Belarus, so too can words operate simply. Nikolai Khalezin, speaking in his native tongue, avoids doing too much because he wants to speak directly to us, and it works: his lack of refinement speaks toward a greater honesty. Even the DJ (Lavr Berzhanin), who at times is out of place, helps to unite the piece with samples of music that are wholly effective every time Khalezin pauses for a moment to reflect on his own freedom.

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- Terminus

Photo/Ros Kavanagh

If it weren't for Mark O'Rowe's clever verse (e.g., smitten/admitten, invective/ineffective, identical/antithetical) and graphic language, it would've been hard to sit through his ninety minute triptych of monologues, Terminus. Harder still given the taste of thick smoke in the air and the dim and sideways illuminated sight of the actors on stage. But the language justifies the appearance of demons (composed of worms), easy-going psychopaths, and matter-of-fact violence by elevating it to the metaphor of poetry. Though I'm not sure there's a hidden meaning to a man swinging from a crane by his entrails with a demons barbed tail sticking out of his mouth as he sings "Wind Beneath My Wings," it seems not only plausible in O'Rowe's world, but oddly humorous, too, an impressive feat for such a dark piece. (It brings to mind similarly glamorous works of violence, like The Lieutenant of Inishmore.)

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- Disinformation

There isn't a person out there who will leave Disinformation saying anything negative about Reggie Watts's voice: the man is an aural artist, capable of many octave-spanning notes, and that's without the assistance of his voice modulators and track-recorders, two twinned devices that let him layer distortions upon distortions upon himself. However, this show seems more like a sampler of what he can do than a statement of anything worth saying, and one of his faux-corporate slogans rings a little too close to home: "The More That You Use, The Less That You Are." That said, there isn't a person going to Disinformation who won't be amused. From his satirical intellectualizing (his stuffy accents are enjoyable) to his retro film clips, Reggie Watts really knows how to pick his words carefully (even at their most vulgar, his "Shit Fuck Sandwich" rap is still eerily specific).

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