We might all rest easier if massive weather events could be “hacked” with the right combination of code, repelling hurricanes from New York’s fragile shores. But that security would vanish if we learned those very storms were summoned by cynical bureaucrats using unnatural disasters to manipulate the public.
That’s the premise of The Flatiron Hex, an eco-sci-fi tale with supernatural overtones, concocted and performed by puppeteer James Godwin. Low-tech means — puppets, figurines, an old-school overhead projector — tell a high-tech story about a futuristic New York surrounded by swamp and regularly overrun by storms. Shamans, communicating with a sentient mainframe computer, employ technological rituals to keep the hurricanes at bay. That is, until Wylie Walker — Godwin’s heroic alter ego — uncovers a dark conspiracy during the struggle to perform the much-needed Flatiron Hex, which transforms the famous building into a storm-prevention tool.
In case you couldn’t tell, The Flatiron Hex is both charming and supremely difficult to follow. Godwin dashes around, manipulating puppets, making voices, and chomping blood capsules (this is one of the gorier puppet shows you’ll see). The convoluted story, and Godwin’s occasional aggression toward spectators, can make the piece jarring to watch. But the odd antics and the ecological vision — more prescient than it seems — save the day. And (never fear!) Wylie Walker will too.