Smart and self-deprecating, "Absolutely Abreast" revels in bizarre behavior and if you hate modern dance and would rather be watching football, there's something for you too.
By SARAH CARLSON
There's something irresistibly funny about art that mocks itself. "Absolutely Abreast," presented by Karen Krolak's zany company of misfits, Monkeyhouse, is a delightful collection of such self-aware skits. Eclectic and smart, the program weaves outlandish circumstantial threads into a fabric of fantastic foils.
"Phallic Fallacy" dives right into the pot with Krolak swimming in red terrycloth, wielding a miniature plunger, ready to take on the demons lying in wait for all such imprisoned housewives. Frolicking about, alternately tortured and serene, Krolak is accompanied by the running inner monologue of a male audience member who cannot grasp the meaning of such self-indulgent writhing and resents being dragged to a cultural event when he could be at home watching sports. The exposed gut reactions of this narrow-minded numbskull along with what's happening on stage are utterly hilarious. Rambling and tangential, the monologue mimics the longwinded outpouring of melodrama and squeals by Krolak. Deliberately over-the-top, this esoteric modern dance rises above weirdness for weirdness' sake into skillfully contrived and poignant commentary.|
Amelia O'Dowd channels Pippi Longstocking for her brief transitional interludes as a prop-collecting sprite. Charming and coy, she slithers onstage, acquires the props in her oddball fashion and leaves before we're ready for her to be gone.
"Really Relentless Reins" features a tinsel-strewn umbrella whisked around the stage in elegant wafting waves by Nicole Harris. While showcasing Krolak's penchant for innovative props that speak beyond their structure, Reins has potential to spare as it fails to develop beyond the initial gimmick and falls short of profound.
A red physio-ball, a strobe-filled slinky headpiece, and an elongated leg come together to create the freakishly interesting character Krolak embodies in "What's Next." Unabashedly bizarre, Krolak's graceful maneuverings are so striking, the audience is unwittingly absorbed into her spell. David Pavkovic's synthesized score adds a mesmerizing undertone and the relentless repetition of the lyrics "I wanna be like you" becomes apparent just before Nicole Harris takes the stage dressed exactly like Krolak. Harris's fervent but clumsy attempts to imitate Krolak are delectably comical, though not appreciated by Krolak. The drama takes a darker twist as the tension escalates and approaches disturbing dimensions.
"Absolutely Abreast" raises the bar for bizarre behavior by transcending its peculiar parts and tapping greater human truths. Karen Krolak's imagination is innovative and intelligent and promises to challenge us ever further with her eccentric extravaganzas.
|AUGUST 22, 2001|
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