Leaving Traces

People and Things, People as Things, People in Things

Did Saint Patrick drive the snakes out of Ireland? The slithering, sexy, ragamuffin snake-women (Theresa Palazzo, Sarah Carlson, and Donna Bouthillier, who also double as barnyard animals) are not going anywhere. Palazzo, altogether human, slithers into a feather bed on a cart with the fallible saint (skinny, dreadlocked Elmer Moore Jr.) after he has tangled intriguingly with the ladies (feet have a way of getting into crotches) and symbolically thrust his shepherd's staff right through the mattress. Did Patrick's tale of temporary escape from Ireland (he'd been kidnapped as a boy) to his native Britain conceal a pregnant-wench episode? That's what occurred in a parallel story that Alonzo (his Irish accent abandoned) tells of a virtuous Mexican forebear, Tomás, and his travails crossing the border after impregnating his sweetheart. (Patrick returns to Ireland; Tomás goes back to Mexico and a happy marriage.)

Abandoning Hope: Bomer (top) and Boomsma (foreground) in Amy Sue Rosen’s new work
photo: Ellen Crane
Abandoning Hope: Bomer (top) and Boomsma (foreground) in Amy Sue Rosen’s new work

I forgot to mention that Alonzo also plays the guitar and sings (music by him and Jason Crigler). He and Patrick decide that "Salty Dog" is a restorative. They also repeat the useful mantra "I got the right string but the wrong yo-yo." In the end, everybody dances like gleefully clumsy kids while belting out "Rock Island Line." Among them are Jennifer A. Cooper as an accordion-playing Lamb and Amy Larimer and Ruben Ortiz as Clouds in dressy, retro white clothes designed by Cooper. In addition to delivering sharp patter so rapid you can hardly grasp it, they mount ladders decked with bicycle wheels and copper wire (by Matt Allar) and sing and kibitz. I'd have to see this show again (a pleasant prospect) to get all the cross-references. Other work by Byrne will be shown at Dixon Place in June.

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