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Six Frantic Characters in Search of an Auteur Comb the Piney Woods


I guess RoseAnne Spradlin has death on her mind. She’s set her new Future Past in a forest of tall, drooping Christmas trees that look like post-season discards. Six soloists inhabit this glum landscape: a male bystander type; a pair of women in vaguely exotic garb; an intense male-female couple who sometimes appear half naked; and a tawdry glamour girl (the marvelous Stephanie Tack) who might have stepped out of a noir thriller. A mostly nude, mostly female ensemble supports them by supplying anonymous bodies to flail, fall, and be relegated to cardboard “coffins” labeled “Tree Classics.” The all-too-repetitive action ricochets between pantomimed passages (of conventional horror and even triter sentiment) and pure movement largely confined to marathon-style running, dervish whirling, and a frantic agitation of arms and splay-fingered hands. Spradlin’s an original whose efforts I’ve admired in the past, but I found this venture both tedious and unfathomable.

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