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    2008-2009 reviews:
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  • Zombie



    What's he driving at?

    A cross-country trip is the inspiration for "Travelogue" by choreographer Chris Burnside, a one-man show in which storytelling unfortunately takes a back seat.


    "Travelogue" is just what the name promises — an account of Chris Burnside's seven-week drive across the country with his boyfriend Karl and a little white Hyundai named Hannah. The show rarely lives up to its potential, but it does feature one episode of brilliance that suggests how more could have been made of this material.

    Written and directed by: Chris Burnside.
    Burnside is in fact not an actor or a writer but a choreographer, and the difference is evident. The story here — about two men leaving the largely gay-friendly and artist-indulging confines of New York to see what's out there in the rest of America. But most of the story is not well told — we get a rundown of every every single day's menu but not much about the sights and feelings that the different locations may have brought out. Burnside is just not ready to make a successful monologue out of this material because he hasn't looked for the deeper lessons and personal meaning that should come from his experience. He needed to examine a few experiences deeply rather than list activities and places superficially.

    There is an exception, though. There's one moment in which Burnside uses his unique talents to illustrate the drama of a scene — not by talking but by dancing. After describing a walk on the Oregon coast in which the beach was covered with dead birds, he does a dance about the birds' glorious flight above the waves and their agony dying in the sea. It's very moving, and a play full of dances about America would have been something really extraordinary.

    AUGUST 7, 2001

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