Saturday, June 14, 2003

"God bless Canada. First it gave the world the manifold joys of Hockey Night in Canada. Now it's presented us with En Français, Comme en Anglais, It's Easy to Criticize, a captivating performance piece by Jacob Wren and PME, mounted at P.S. 122. Toronto-Quebec kissing cousins of ERS and Collapsable Giraffe, but more somber and purposeful, the five-member group has created a collage that's part dance, part social critique, part heady fucking around."

"Four tables supporting stereo equipment anchor the dimly lit stage. Lacking a conventional plot, the piece comprises a sequence of moments that appear random but have their own internal logic. Performers Martin Bélanger and Tracy Wright discuss theorist Gilles Deleuze on one side of the stage; on the other, two women (Julie Andrée T. and Sylvie Lachance) dance together silently. Bélanger disappears, but later speaks in French over a walkie-talkie illuminated by a spotlight. Wren runs repeatedly between the front and back of the stage, delivering a monologue on how the World Trade Center attack has confused his piece's critique of bourgeois comfort. The ensemble stops for a group discussion of the work. Wright confronts Wren, complaining that the last thing the world needs is another boy genius. The group breaks into dance, sometimes ecstatic, sometimes gently coordinated. Andrée T. has a particularly compelling presence-her sullenness only makes her movement more fascinating."

"Alternately hypnotic and amusing, En Français-like much postmodern work-interrogates the idea of the performance itself. But it never fails to be that performance, and a damn good one. "The real avant-garde is to be found in doing nothing," Wren observes, despairing of the action-driven, media-saturated world. He and his ensemble have happily ignored their own counsel. "(VillageVoice:theater:Headin' South by Brian Parks)

:: comment :: . . . the face of "experimental" theater today . . . (post-modern)/ 21st Century . . . "fucking around" . . . no thanks! . . . or is this the face of a review/critique and does it spawn other work . . . the past two years found research lab performace articulating this "fucking around" . . . whose interested? . . .