Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The Devil You Know

photo: Richard Termine

A collaboration between Ping Chong and Phantom Limb that uses (mostly marionette) puppets to retell the Faustian The Devil and Daniel Webster story, The Devil You Know is a strangely compelling piece of theatre. The visually striking designs, from the blank-faced puppets to the dark rustic rooms, are more haunting than comforting and the thematic implication of marionettes, every move controlled from on high, is in fascinating opposition to a text that warns against the human choice of selfishness. The show, at LaMama and part of this year's Under The Radar festival, satisfies at the most basic level of simple storytelling if taken at face value, but its strange special power comes from what's beneath the surface.

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