Theater archives

Jolie Laide Performers Shatter Swiss Stereotypes With Humor and Rage


The visions of Zurich-born Yvonne Meier—maker of the newly intertwined Mad Heidi, part I and Limpopo, I and II—raise all sorts of questions. Why is Ishmael Houston-Jones lying supine, taped to the floor? Is an exorcism—here, Jennifer Monson purging herself of everything stereotypically Swiss—really supposed to be both terrifying and entertaining? Are the Alps alive with the sound of godawful dance music? Monson, riddled with tension and rage, her sturdy body grounded by short black boots, played Meier’s stand-in, eventually disrobing, taking a dirt bath—merging with the true earth of home?—and perhaps emerging renewed. Monson’s signature spellbinder employed centrifugal motion and a costume weighted by dozens of walnuts. Osmani Tellez and Antonietta Vicario gamboled with giant, spongy props that resembled leek stalks, and the whole beautiful-ugly thing ended suddenly, as if ripped from a sketchbook and thrown at our feet.