Watch This Space

Chaos: Physicists escape reality, but not narrative, thanks to Curie-ous guidance.
Hiroyuki Ito
Chaos: Physicists escape reality, but not narrative, thanks to Curie-ous guidance.

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Chaos
By Matthew Maguire, music by Michael Gordon
The Kitchen
512 West 19th Street
255-5793

Girl Gone
By Mac Wellman
The Flea Theater
41 White Street
226-0051

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Wellman of course jumps about this story rather than simply telling it; he refracts it from one or another point of view, breaks it up with song, dance, and ritual, and generally allows the narrative to be no more than glimpsed in the interstices of his verbal games. In class, the girls are discussing the myth of Pandora, whose box, after she had set its evils loose in the world, contained only Hope; this and other allusions give Girl Gone the tone of a contemporary joke on modes of allegory as well as what amounts to a Shirley Jackson story in polysyllabic fancy dress. The perky, aggressively ritualized staging, by Paul Lazar, with choreography by Annie-B Parson, stresses the play's free-form surface. Disappointingly, this tends to make the acting seem either underweighted or overwrought; the constant dislocations leave no room for emotional focus, though a free-flying text like this requires actors to be, if anything, more strongly centered than a piece of conventional realism. Otherwise, they merely seem to be reciting lines in a void. Still, the movement catches something of Wellman's twisty, comically elaborated style, and when Girl Gone is gone, you feel that something more than a spattering of words and gestures has passed through your mind, even if you're not sure exactly what. At the very least, it shows you how much more interesting The X-Files would be if they hired Twyla Tharp to direct it.

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