Sunday, October 18, 2009

My Life in a Nutshell

A loves C.

loves C.

is tired of being involved with both A and B.

loves E.

Death loves D, who does not reciprocate.

A, B, C, D,
and E are lifesized, faceless marionettes made of burlap bags.

Death is two long poles.

This is My Life in a Nutshell in a nutshell. Created and performed (with assistance) by the multi-award-winning Hanne Tierney, the show also features charming projections by Hannah Wassileski and wonderful music written, sung, and played (bass fiddle and toy piano) by Jane Wang. A commentary on people's relationships with one another and with death, My Life in a Nutshell offers a combination of evocative, even magical, moments and impressive technical prowess (the mechanics of manipulating the marionettes and the music-making are in full view). The text/narration, nicely delivered by Tierney, is affectless and wryly amusing, with much of it as simple and straightforward as the first two lines of this review, which are direct quotations. While everything in this show is top-notch, and much of it is amazing--I particularly enjoyed the lovingly satirical performance art presentation of work by Gertrude Stein--the whole is somewhat less than the sum of its parts. The affectless narration, the facelessness of the marionettes, and the slowness of the presentation limit the transmission of emotion, and the overall impression is of watching from a distance.

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