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    Complete archive, 1999-present

    2008-2009 reviews:
  • Anaïs Nin Goes To Hell
  • beast: a parable
  • Blanche Survives Katrina in a FEMA Trailer Named Desire
  • Blasted
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  • China: The Whole Enchilada
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  • Fringe Festival 2008
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  • The Glass Cage
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  • Hidden Fees* (A Play About Money)
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  • King of Shadows
  • The Longest Running Joke of the Twentieth Century
  • Lucasville: The Untold Story of a Prison Uprising
  • Macbeth
  • The Master Builder
  • Missa Solemnis, or The Play About Henry
  • Mourn the Living Hector
  • A Nasty Story
  • Nowadays
  • the october crisis (to laura)
  • Oresteia
  • Other Bodies
  • Prayer
  • Psalms of a Questionable Nature
  • Raised by Lesbians
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  • Sleepwalk With Me
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  • Something Weird . . . in the Red Room
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  • The Third from the Left
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  • The Wendigo
  • Zombie


    The Negative Energy Field

    The brother's grim

    Playwright Tom X. Chao turns St. Marks Place into Bleaker Street with his darkly funny paean to pessimism, "The Negative Energy Field."


    You wait expectantly for the show to begin. The lights go down. The tension builds. As the lights come up . . . wait, they don't come up. Slowly your eyes adjust, and you can just make out a black lump on the stage.

    Written and performed by: Tom X. Chao.

    Related links: Official site
    It begins to speak.

    Somewhere up there in the blackness is "The Negative Energy Field," an emotional black hole created by playwright Tom X. Chao that sucks up all positive matter around it and crushes it into pure negative energy.

    Fortunately, it has a sense of humor.

    A dark one, naturally.

    Or maybe just an unsual willingness to bare all of its deepest anxieties. A resonant baritone — the voice of the subconscious, perhaps — wonders if it has wasted its whole life, if art is obsolete, if society is crumbling, if it will ever be loved. Wait a minute — those are your deepest anxieties! What's Tom X. Chao doing with them?

    I originally saw this show at the 1999 Fringe Festival. I had just seen a couple of mediocre plays and was feeling like I wouldn't see any of the obscure but brilliant shows I hope to find there, when suddenly I stumbled on this one and felt like I'd finally found the fringe in the Fringe Festival. It was grim, weird, funny, and chillingly perceptive. If you need a good jolt of negativity, a reason not to get out of bed in the new millennium, this is the indistinct black blob you've been waiting to hear.

    JANUARY 24, 2001

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