Charlie Marcos on Here I Go at 59E59 Theatres4 June 2012
choes of Richard Foreman pop up throughout Monk Parrots’ HERE I GO, a theatrical portrait of a Texan housewife-come-cowgirl, Lynette, contemplating suicide. The woes of a 60-year-old Dolly Parton fan are an odd fit for a production taking cues from the Ontological-Hysteric, but Director/Designer Luke Leonard mines the associative imagery of the subconscious to surprising effect. The piece is at its strongest when describing a mood. In flashes, you get a disorienting sense of the rush of conflicting thought and emotion at play in Lynette’s head as she struggles with her decision.
Four women embody Lynette at various points in her life from the age of 8 to 60. We watch them help make her famous banana pudding or wait by the phone. Meanwhile, her deceased husband (played by a game Michael Howell) lingers in the background as a shade (literally – he’s painted jet black), ushering us into the experience with a lip synch performance as Kenny Rogers in We Got Tonight.
Though conceptually promising, the production runs into challenges in execution. Abandoning dramatic action for spectacle, Leonard puts tremendous pressure on the visual life to dazzle and shine. No words are spoken during the performance. Instead, actors move through the space and execute slow motion snap shots of Lynette’s domestic life to pre-recorded text (provided by David Todd). This disconnect between language and performer puts us somewhat more in the world of dance than theatre. You keep waiting for the performers to explode into action. But aside from a few primal screams, its a pretty sedate affair. Additionally, the free-associative mathematics of imagery and reference don’t always add up to an emotionally or kinesthetically resonant experience. However, at 60 minutes the show is over before it can wear out it’s welcome.
Presented at 59e59
Made by MONK PARROTS
Conceived and Directed by LUKE LEONARD
Text by DAVID TODD
With MICHAEL HOWELL, MARIAH ILARDI-LOWY, GATES LEONARD, NATALIE LEONARD, JULIE NELSON and JESSICA POHLMAN
Lighting Designer ERIC NIGHTENGALE
Costumer Designer JENNIFER SKURA
Writing Credits: Charlie Marcos is a director, writer and teacher working in New York City. In addition to his directing in Manhattan, his work has been presented both regionally and internationally. Originally from the New York metro area, he studied in Chicago and New England and has both undergraduate and graduate degrees in theatre and directing.
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