Sunday, March 02, 2008

FRIGID '08: Great Hymn of Thanksgiving/Conversation Storm

The Nonsense Company is exactly why I go to festivals: they're a fresh, vibrant group, producing theater that's unlike anything else out there. That it's politically themed adds an extra edge, but I'm giddy enough to pronounce this the must-see play of the FRIGID Festival. Their first play, Great Hymn of Thanksgiving looks like Chuck Mee slamming into Philip Glass, and features "three speaking percussionists" (more like Foley artists here) who use ordinary dinnerware (and a few musical instruments, like a cymbal and harpsichord) to create a thankless Thanksgiving. Their second play, Conversation Storm, presents a series of non-linear scenes that, nonetheless, escalate and oscillate between humor and drama as three friends go at one another over the morality of using torture in the so-called "ticking time bomb" situation. A little dinner talk, a little nuclear apocalypse, a fancy meal, a torture session -- wow. What's most impressive is how human the cast is, despite the machine-like precision of their shifts between on only scenes but entirely different plays.

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