Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Welcome To Nowhere (bullet hole road)
The actors, playing archetypal road movie characters, generally face out while standing in a physically limiting box-like enclosure. The subconscious visual associations of this are multiple: fortune tellers in a penny arcade, ticket takers at a tollbooth, criminals behind security glass at a prison, and so on. They mostly whisper their lines into microphones, while above them a letterbox-shaped screen plays (superbly realized) video that has been made to look like iconic road movie footage. This is Temporary Distortion's fascinating hybrid of theatre, cinema and art installation, a consistently mesmerizing experience that summons - just as American road movies do - an often dream-like mood comprised of both vague menace and strange melancholy. The show not only summons that mood, it sustains it with disciplined integrity for its full length without ever having to bow to conventional narrative storytelling and without disturbing the spellbinding stillness that initially draws us in. This is something entirely new and rule-breaking that quietly explodes some of the conventional ideas of what theatre is, and it's staggering.