March 9th, 2008


Theater of the Inexplicable

The ART took the evening to remind harrock and I that, while it might have been putting on some completely comprehensible shows this season, like Copenhagen and No Child (and Donnie Darko, I am told, made more sense if you'd seen the movie), they should not be taken as representative of its core competency, and these are the people that brought you Richard II in a swimming pool.

The lighting was, as always, gorgeous. The lounge singer singing "Suicide is Painless" to Brutus was haunting. The 60s-political visual look worked for me. There was a moment of Mark Antony standing by Caesar's body, looking up at the empty ampitheater seats, in which I could see the wheels start to turn before he goes to let slip the dogs of war. But there was a lot of sheer surreal, including:
  • The whole "it's all an afterlife dream remembered by Lucius" theme was sort of puzzling. There was an insert explaining that; perhaps early audiences were totally baffled.
  • All of Lucius's lines being in sign language.
  • (This one is my favorite) The conspirators, after killing Caesar, vow to dip their hands in his blood. They do so slowly, one at a time, coating their hands dramatically with stage blood. Except for Cinna, who doesn't need to use Caesar's: he has brought his own supply of blood, in his suit pockets. Cinna was undoubtedly a Boy Scout.
  • The car hanging above the battlefield
  • The evolution of combat tech during the battle, from the huggystab to the glove pistol and then the machine gun, to what might have been a rocket launcher.
  • The scene in which everyone entered and exited by rolling under the hanging set. (This counts as writhing on the floor, which the Totally Straight shows have also been missing.)