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‘Fire’ in a Crowded Theater 

Wednesday, Oct 13 2010
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We’ve suspected for some time that those fireball-on-a-stick Dolores Park Burners might not be native to Earth, what with our big buildings and fire codes and flammable clothing and all. We earthlings like our fires in pits and stoves — and when they’re on stages of any type, we keep extinguishers within reach. Firemaster Khan Wong and his Flow Show represent a different type of unearthly fire-dancer in “Portal: the Circlemakers.” Inspired by the geometric patterns and implications of crop circles, his troupe’s story of travelers from a foreign dimension, armed with hoops and mandalas and circles all aglow, asks questions about the universe and its tenants — albeit not literally. Within their choreographed artifact-dancing lies the subtext. It’s expressed through the skilled artistry of the four performers and actors, who wield staffs of varying length, twirling poi and s-shaped staves called buugeng to trip us the eff out. Nothing is actually on fire in the show -- Khan writes: “Our toys are white and reflective. We want to highlight the flow ... and we feel this approach works better in a theater setting. It's part of the experiment.” After all, this takes place on the third planet from the sun, where renter's insurance ain't cheap.
Oct. 22-24, 8 p.m., 2010

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Chris Trenchard

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