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Big Love 

Though it sacrifices character and narrative cohesion, it aims high

Wednesday, Oct 4 2006
If Aeschylus and Karen O. had a baby, it might look something like FoolsFury's latest production. Charles Mee's fascinating text collage steals liberally from the old Greek's play The Suppliant Women, The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon (from Japan in the year 990), Andy Warhol shooter Valerie Solanas' writings, and a book on the psychic makeup of Nazi soldiers — forming a compelling exploration of love, power, dominance, and submission. The talented director Laley Lippard and the energetic cast bring a similar cut-and-paste aesthetic to the staging; classical and modern dance gestures mix with new-wave choreography from the '80s and punk rock abandon from the '70s. The actors demonstrate an intense commitment to illuminating the text: They literally throw themselves into something like a trance in an effort to fill Mee's sensual poetry. Big Love sacrifices character and narrative cohesion for language and movement-based images, and as a result there are awkward moments when a performer's excessive earnestness and avant-garde flailing betray this young group's lofty ambitions. That said, I can't think of another local company that's aiming so high. — Frank Wortham

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Frank Wortham


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