Architecting—a bold, compelling collaborative piece by the TEAM and the National Theatre of Scotland running at Under the Radar—begins with Carrie, an idealistic New York architect who arrives in New Orleans to develop a “real American community” out of the post-Katrina rubble. But inside a condemned bar, her ideas of America are called into question by a disparate mix of characters, including the late historian Henry Adams, Gone With the Wind author Margaret Mitchell (the superb Jessica Almasy), and a Hollywood producer shooting a politically correct remake of Mitchell’s book. There’s even Scarlett O’Hara herself, played by the very funny Kristin Claire Sieh, who later memorably reappears as a wannabe Scarlett pageant contestant.
As scenes from Gone With the Wind and close-ups of the actors flash on multiple screens, the outstanding and quite athletic cast of six slip into nearly 20 characters, somersaulting, dancing, and singing folk songs along the way. Tackling such hefty issues as racism and the failures of reconstruction in New Orleans, the TEAM successfully does so without cynicism. Unfortunately, they take more than two and a half hours to do it. Despite being full of fun surprises, the work could use some trimming to make it sparkle like the belle of the ball.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 21, 2009