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Wednesday, Feb 20 2008

When all the theatrical elements come together, Crowded Fire's production of Charles L. Mee's jagged riff on the state of human nature is truly something to behold. Jarrod Fischer's lighting, Rod Hipskind's set, Cliff Caruthers' sound, and Marissa Wolf's directing create beautiful, miniature worlds that you can't help but be drawn into — such as a breakup structured around the sound of a boiling electric teakettle and lit by a table lamp. It's frustrating that all these little compelling worlds never seem to add up to something whole, remaining a collection of disparate ruminations Mee culled from various found texts, including his own previous plays. But perhaps for Mee this state of disunity is the point, a mirror to the broken images and mashed-up language that comprise our actual lives. So, hey, why not combine a rousing country music number with a dense passage of Proust? While there are times in this 85-minute production when our eyes glaze over and our minds drift, there are also moments when we are given that rare theatrical gift: total immersion in a strange, unfamiliar place that shows us something true about our human selves.

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Molly Rhodes


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