Monday, October 12, 2009

My Life in a Nutshell

theaterThe use of actual human figures, even in the form of puppets, is new in Hanne Tierney's work. This short production features very cool life-sized burlap marionettes, deftly quickened from the side of the stage by Ms. Tierney and two other string-pulling operators. While the human characters get puppet representation, they are granted only letters for names, one of many abstract and abstract-tending ideas threading through this story (the concept of the "love triangle" gets new meaning here). Unfortunately the story unfolds ponderously and fails to grip. It feels as though two opposing forces are pulling the piece into a confused state: partially abstract, partially human, it is not fully anything. The characters and ideas represented by abstractions seem to have more interesting personalities than the people played by puppets. They make us want to observe them more closely, to understand what they mean or at least sense something of what drives them. The vision that drives Ms. Tierney and her co-conspirators has numerous fascinating conceptual facets, but has here resulted in something only intermittently interesting, and ultimately unsatisfying.

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