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    2008-2009 reviews:
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  •  REVIEW: HYPERREAL AMERICA

      Hyperreal America
    The hyperreal world

    A cast of 20 assembles a collage of American life in your mind in the magically dreamlike drama "Hyperreal America."

    By JOSHUA TANZER
    Offoffoff.com


    As you enter the theater, the play has already started. A gaunt, unconscious young man shivers and moans on a hospital bed. You observe quietly and uncertainly, along with a doctor and a nurse, until eventually the lights dim and the man — or almost certainly his ghost leaving his body — rises from the bed and begins to tell his story.

    HYPERREAL AMERICA
    Company: International WOW Company.
    Directed by: Josh Fox.
    Cast: Robert Barcia, Ryan Edwards, Dawn Eshelman, Josh Fox, Beth Griffith, Connie Hall, Gina Hirsch, Ikuko Ikari, Kerri Lynn, Patrick McCaffrey, Alanna Medlock, Nurit Monacelli, Aya Ogawa, Noro Otitigbe, Liz Pounsett, Matthew Pritchard, Magin Schantz, Stephen Sislen, Tyren Scott Thomas, Aaron Mostkoff Unger, Rachel Vidal.

    Related links: Official site
      
    From this captivating beginning, "Hyperreal America" unfolds — with not so much a straightforward plot as a scattering of scene snippets that build a story through the impressions they leave on the audience, some cinematically visual, others intimately personal.

    The dying man — and it's not clear yet what he's dying from — shows us scenes from his high school days, which he seems to remember fondly if only because he doesn't remember it clearly. Through the accumulation of fractured images (and oh yes, a funny musical number), we get a portrait of teenage rowdiness, fun, confusion and sadism. As always, the popular kids torment the unpopular kids, but this is never a trite sitcom or an angsty teen drama because it's not a linear story intended to pull your strings — it's a collage meant to assemble itself in your mind.

      Hyperreal America
    The second half takes place in the adult world as the same actors — though not the same characters — deal with work, relationships, illness and isolation. This segment seems a bit overlong — with the play clocking in at about three hours overall — and disconnected from the first half until it reaches a stunning conclusion that helps the two halves make sense together.

    New York is full of experimental theater that simply leaves you puzzled, and it's rare that a non-linear play has this much impact while taking this many chances. "Hyperreal America" uses its 20-actor ensemble to present sometimes four or five scenes on the same stage at the same time, each cutting in and out like bits of overheard conversation, all adding up to a dreamlike but memorable whole. We finally remember that we're exploring the mind of a man at the moment of death and seeing our own society through the splinters of his memory.

    FEBRUARY 6, 2001
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK


    Reader comments on Hyperreal America:

  • How incredible!!!   from Robert Barcia, Feb 8, 2001
  • Congratulations to Rachel and Sarah   from Aunt Mary JO, Feb 9, 2001

  • Post a comment on "Hyperreal America"