Friday, April 30, 2010

Critical Perspective of West by "Awesome" by Michael Taylor

For me, last nights show West by Awesome just failed to come together in any coherent way. Things I heard in the lobby: It had its moments These guys are certainly talented a lot of thought went into the set. One could add a number of elements to the list, all of which, taken in isolation, were extremely polished, sometimes witty, and occasionally conceptually innovative. But like all those glow-in-the dark bouncy balls that fell from the ceiling (spoiler alert), each aha-moment exploded up into the atmosphere without leaving much of a trace, only to end up scattered on the floor. Or rather, the parts seemed to slowly meander and drift away from each other like so much flotsam and jetsam on a very still lake. There were projections of mythic images and voices, slapstick play with costumes and seemingly bottomless containers, rituals of violence and cleansing, a few jokes, monologues dripping a bit sweetly with longing and gazes into the distance, and the music, which unfortunately was often upstaged by the recorded sound-track and the sound of waves. One friend summed up the possibilities and failures of the piece particularly trenchantly. The background is the foreground, she said, generously trying to articulate what was going on. But she also said the same thing earlier in a very different way: Its like a screen saver. Indeed, we did see several screen-savers projected onto the stage in the third act. I suppose some people found a meditative space in these empty evocations of mood. I wasn't one of them.

Michael Thomas Taylor
Assistant Professor of German
The University of Calgary