Much of theater’s appeal depends on its liveness—if we’re going to forego popcorn and Junior Mints, we’d at least like the actors to be in the room with us. But that doesn’t mean theater audiences and theatermakers are immune to the appeal of multimedia gewgaws. When well employed—as in a Wooster Group or Builders Association show—these mediating technologies can invigorate the theatrical experience. In 3-Legged Dog’s Losing Something, however, the gadgetry becomes the excuse (a poor one) for the show itself.
Writer-director Kevin Cunningham has acquired Eyeliner, not the well-loved cosmetic, but a Swedish technology that allows him to project three-dimensional images onto the stage. The effects are admittedly marvelous, but here they’re in aid of an elliptical, childish script. A man identified as X (Aldo Perez) contemplates his existence and his fading memories in the wake of the World Trade Center disaster (in which 3LD’s original space was lost). As bodies fall from the sky and old girlfriends occasionally appear, X mumbles about bifurcated consciousness, states of matter, and sex. Perez seems acutely uncomfortable onstage, unsure how to react to the live and projected actors who traipse by him. In its efforts to display the new technology, Losing Something has actually lost a lot: the characters, the plot, even the point.