Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Photo: Joseph Alford

In a 1915 poem by TS Eliot called "Hysteria," the anxious narrator becomes disturbed by his date's raucous laughter. The show Hysteria, created and performed by the group Inspector Sands (Lucinka Eisler, Giulia Innocenti, and Ben Lewis), is a riff on Eliot's work. That it is an absurdist riff is made clear from the beginning, when the gender-ambiguous, obsessive-compulsive, paranoid wait-person, while preparing for work, discovers that one of his or her teeth has migrated to the back of his or her neck. The people on the date are a nervous young man who periodically breaks away from the date to lecture the audience about his research and an equally nervous young woman who keeps a red boa and a couple of bananas in her purse. There's little plot to speak of; instead, the show consists of moments that sometimes lay bare the differences between our inner and outer beings and sometimes are there because they are funny, because the physical humor meshes perfectly with the talented cast's abilities, or, well, just because. Hysteria's 55 minutes go quickly, and it is frequently entertaining. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but if you enjoy graceful physical humor and absurdist theatre, you'll find a lot here to like.


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