Wednesday, January 06, 2010

3. Versus

Photo/Teatr Nowy

Take a Brecht play--In the Jungle of Cities--and then reduce it to four characters. Maintain the alienation effect, doubly so by performing it in Polish, with English supertitles. Emphasize the vulnerability of the characters by having them do increasingly physical acts, and by only half clothing them. Make sure they embody the art of wrestling, with its "performative exaggerations." Remember that the audience wants not to see actual suffering, but an honest simulacrum of it. Sum all of that up with a big old "meh": we beat ourselves up enough already, that's the point, so why subject us to a show that does the same? The best moments, acutely physical, use the illusion of performance to show things that are not illusions. But in the end, because this battle means nothing, it can only be a let-down.

[Read on]

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