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
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.
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.
|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
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.
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
|FEBRUARY 6, 2001|
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