Monday, January 14, 2008

Under The Radar (Site-Specific)

-Small Metal Objects

Photo/Jeff Busby

The drug-dealing plot of Small Metal Objects may be slight, but the location -- a suspenseful South Ferry Station -- and the actors -- from diminutive specks to fully realized characters -- elevate it through the frisson of the unpredictable into the poetics of the ordinary. For once, we aren't tuning out the plights of our anonymous brethren, and by stopping our busy lives, looking around, and really listening, we get closer to the most beautiful thing theater can give us: a real sense of connection.

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-Of All The People in the World: USA

Photo/Ed Dimsdale

I'm not sure the routine assembly of rice into breathtaking mounds of statistics counts as a play (I've put it down for half of one), but the theatrical presentation of raw numbers is a staggering success. This international tour, Of All the People in the World, finally stops in the US (specifically the World Financial Center), and, using one grain for each person, shows us contrasts that are both serious and slight, as with the ratio of millionaires in the world to the number of refugees or "Number of viewers for the final episode of "'Sex and the City'" versus "Single Women in Manhattan." It's all bigger than you'd think and thanks to the sheer willfulness of counting and displaying all that rice, its obtuseness in the midst of a business sector: these things make the facts unavoidable, and all the more powerful.

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