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."
By JOSHUA TANZER
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.
It begins to speak.
|THE NEGATIVE ENERGY FIELD|
|Written and performed by: Tom X. Chao.|
Related links: Official site
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 A resonant baritone the voice of the subconscious, perhaps wonders if it has wasted its whole life, if art is obsolete, if society is crumbling, if it will ever be loved.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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