Jan Fabre Burns New Jersey
Pyromaniacs, rejoice! Flemish theatrical auteur Jan Fabres latest extravaganza, PrometheusLandscape II, now playing at Montclair State, is a collection of conflagrations to satisfy any fire enthusiasts fancy. This exhilaratingly athleticand occasionally goofyromp through Promethean myth unfolds amid the roar of flames, with actors brandishing blowtorches and enormous fire extinguishers. (Dont worry, they also point out the theaters emergency exits.)
In the Greek story, Prometheus brings mortals life-sustaining firethen endures eternal punishment (chains, cliff, carnivorous eagles), courtesy of Zeus. A succession of mythological kibitzers and fellow-sufferers parades by his rocky prison, commiserating and condemning by turns.
Fabres Prometheus hangs suspended, limbs splayed, glowering with immortal superiority as a colossal sun blazes onscreen. In this reimagining, the martyrs gift to humanity is carnal knowledge. The ensemble intones combustion-obsessed love songsIm on Fire, Light My Fireand one actor tries igniting sparks by rubbing a stick between his fellow performers thighs. In a mesmerizing sequence, company members strike matches on their underwear, then extinguish them in their mouths.
Some elements of Fabres eclectic concoction are perplexinga fleeting Hitler reference, a Hare Krishna number. And his preludes thoughtful meditations on societys need for heroes rarely reappear. But Fabres forceful imagery, and his companys titanic feats of endurance, are worth the epic trek to New Jersey.
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