From the looks of the shows opening and already running, this is a good week for nontraditional, multidisciplinary theater around town. OK, so maybe just about every week is good for it, especially in comparison with cities where theater options are limited to high school plays and (maybe) traveling versions of Beauty and the Beast. But the eclectic quotient seems to be running particularly high at the moment.
First, there’s InsideOut, a show by Live Project at HERE. The company, which got its start in 2002, says it seeks “to redefine live performance by manipulating text, media, and technology” and this performance (created by Jason Pizzarello, who co-founded the company) sounds like it fits that bill pretty well. A mixture of live action with video tells the story of Harold, an ordinary guy who, um, wakes up inside a cow and has to come to terms with his disturbing new reality. Despite the ease with which one could make that into a bad joke, the production looks pretty intense and expectation-defying.
HERE Arts Center // 145 6th Ave. between Spring and Dominick // Thurs.-Sat. 7pm thru Mar. 19 // Tickets at Smarttix
Then, this weekend only, there’s a workshop production of another show that incorporates various un-theatery elements, this one from the experimental company Temporary Distortion. someone in the ghost box told me it was you takes on “entrapment, surveillance, love, suicide and psychosis” using modular boxes that confine the actors throughout a play about a man who may have killed his lover but whose memory is shattered, meaning that his disorientation might be the result of some other, unknown, disturbance. Go expecting intimidation and sensory overload – and we mean that in a good way, of course.
The Chocolate Factory // 5-49 49th Ave, Long Island City // Thurs.-Sat. 8pm // Tickets at Theatermania.
Also here for a very short time is Heather Gold’s one-woman show, but since we love baking as much as we love funny show titles, we can’t resist mentioning I Look Like An Egg But Identify As A Cookie. Gold, who was “driven to comedy by law school,” explores sexuality and self via the process of baking chocolate chip cookies (which the audience shares at the end – we imagine there will be some amount of distraction from Gold’s talking when the cookies start baking and filling the theater with their delicious aroma…mmm). The show played for over a year in San Fran but at the moment is just booked for two nights here, so go while you can.
Ars Nova // 511 W. 54th St. // Tonight and Wed. 8pm // Tickets at Smarttix.
Finally, the Gothamist Pick for the week is LightBox Theatre’s Ajax: 100% Fun, the subject of our Sunday behind-the-scenes post. It’s not quite as overtly non-traditional as the others, but it takes a tragedy from millennia ago (perhaps Sophocles’ earliest) and boots it into modernity as a reflection on the meaning of the friend/enemy paradigm as well as the many paradoxes in our expectations of the roles men should play in society. There are several shows at the moment, including this one, that take on the experiences of soldiers in Iraq (Ajax incorporates a number of modern texts, including soldiers' letters home, into Sophocles' work), and we think that’s the most promising development we’ve seen yet in theater that deals with current events, so we certainly hope there will be more of it.
The Culture Project // 45 Bleecker St. // Opens Wed., through Mar. 5, Wed.-Sat. 8pm, Sun. 3pm, Mon. 7pm // Tickets at Smarttix.