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Caught in the Network 

Wednesday, Oct 29 2008
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Life these days seems to be all about the screen. We snap photos on a cell phone, text on a Blackberry, and watch T.V. on the computer. As a traditionally screen-free medium, how can live theater represent this reality? The Obie Award-winning New York group Builders Association has been wrestling with this question for more than a decade, and its approach stretches even the broadest definition of "multimedia." The group's latest production, Continuous City, uses video chat, video blogging, and a real website for a fictional company (xubu.cc) to tell the intertwined stories of people trying to connect halfway across the world. The stage is peppered with screens of various sizes that shift and unfold as characters appear. Mike, traveling for work, tries to stay in touch with his daughter through video, while his boss, J.V., keeps virtual tabs on him. Meanwhile, a nanny in San Francisco communicates with her relatives back home by posting film clips. Amateur video that's been uploaded to xubu.cc appears throughout. Developed during director Marianne Weems' residency at U.C. Berkeley's theater department last year, Continuous City pokes holes in our pixelated existence to find the meat underneath.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Starts: Nov. 6. Continues through Nov. 8, 2008

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Traci Vogel

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