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      Mud In Your Eye
    A pupil person

    "Mud In Your Eye" is the latest pleasantly unpredictable performance piece by John Fleck of the famed "NEA Four."


    It's been 15 years since John Fleck, one of the "NEA Four" (along with Holly Hughes, Karen Finley and Tim Miller) has performed at this venue, and he's returned with a show that comes across as a twisted cocktail hour touching on topics personal and political with a psycho-showbizzy flair.

    On a stage draped with red, white and blue foil stars and similarly colored grand-opening style flags, a bar is set up. As you take your seats for the evening's performance, a kindly man asks you if you would like a drink and informs you that the charge for the beverage is just a $1.75 donation. (They mix up a mean margarita.)

    Written by: John Fleck.
    Directed by: David Schweizer.
    Cast: John Fleck, Tanya Selvaratnam, John Topping, Harvey Perr.
    On the left of the stage is a '60s-style chair shaped like a hand with an American flag draped over it. In front of the chair is a harp, and a young woman sits down and plays.

    From behind the seats comes Fleck, preceded by a TV bearing a video image of himself as he recites a play-by-play reverie/litany of what he's doing at that moment. "I remember stepping on a man's toes." He says neurotically as he does just that. He then climbs over the shoulders of the audience to get to the bar onstage and stands on top of it, giving the audience a good look at his platform shoes. He talks about almost jumping off of a bridge and the audience starts chanting "Jump! jump!" and he does. On the night I say the show he seemed to hurt his ankle and called cut as he hit the ground, limped over to the bar stool and talked about how hard it is to be a performance artist.

    In his engaging, chatty style, Fleck tries to sell copies of the "Mud In Your Eye" movie, has a couple of drinks ("I only drink when I do these shows," he says "I use alcohol like indians use peyote.") does a rootin' tootin' dance number about how George W. Bush was supposed to have been born a girl, and acts out an adolescent episode involving a hand puppet. "Mud In Your Eye" is alternately funny, thought-provoking and trippy — a hefty portion of performance art at its most inspired.

    MAY 8, 2001

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