Space//Space Heads Into the Ether
Space is infinite. And it's constantly expanding. The same cannot be said of the set for Banana Bag & Bodice’s Space//Space, a petite rocket capsule huddled in the midst of the Collpasable Hole. This plexiglass pentagon, smaller than even the meanest studio apartment, is home to two unnamed brothers (Jason Craig and Jessica Jelliffe), improbably dressed in adorable furry suits.
These siblings have launched themselves into the cosmos with little sense of mission and less hope of return. Craig passes the time practicing stand-up comedy routines and munching emergency sandwiches, while Jelliffe dozes, waking occasionally to marvel that spaceflight has somehow transformed her from a brother into a sister—well, a sister with a prodigious beard. Androgyny aside, the production has the feel of a spastic Endgame.
Unlike BB&B’s last and perhaps most successful show, Beowulf—A Thousand Years of Baggage, Space//Space lacks narrative propulsion. However smart and visceral, particularly in its last 10 minutes, it’s a return to the meandering and somewhat overwritten mode of earlier plays such as The Sewers. Yet, Craig and Jelliffe, aided by director Mallory Catlett, are able and unselfconscious performers, and their set design, Miranda K Hardy’s lights, and Dave Malloy’s music create a distinct sense of environment and mood.
Towards the play’s end, Craig’s brother complains of “being stuck up in space with you in a tiny container and no real entertainment other than a bunch of crappy records and no other outfits to wear other than these outfits and no real nightlife.” His grumble is justified; the siblings must spend years cramped inside their spacecraft. But for audiences—even those crammed on to the Collapsable Hole’s famously unaccommodating risers—it’s no discomfort, and sometimes a pleasure, to spend 75 minutes lost in Space//Space.
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