"Extraordinary Rendition" is a soliloquy so obscure that it says almost nothing intelligible about the official violence that inspires it.
By JOSHUA TANZER
If you must see "Extraordinary Rendition," bring your dictionary. The show is a 45-minute soliloquy consisting of too many words and yet not enough worth hearing. At the back of the stage hang the books of classic authors from Homer to Orwell "texts incunabula," as our monologist puts it, "to borrow for a fee, buy for a price." The play is full of lines that say even less than this one. "Yes," the man exults at one point, "I am feeling poetic today."
The play is, in reality, less than poetic. Our narrator and only character is "The Major" (played about as well as you'd want by Michael Raymond Fox), some kind of interrogator in a presumably American uniform. He is not interrogating but rather talking over an imagined second character in a chair. He plays a recording that consists of a music-box jingle and a young voice counting in an unfamiliar but seemingly Indo-European language. He is convinced it is a code and presses the prisoner to cough up its meaning.
|Written and directed by: Jim Balestrieri.|
Cast: Michael Ray Fox.
Related links: Official site
46 Walker St. (two blocks south of Canal between Broadway and Church)
Fringe Festival 2008, Aug. 8-24, 2008
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There is the whiff of an idea behind this ramble. The idea is something to the effect that the culture of violence and predation currently under way are part of a ritual as old as humankind. Maybe, then, the play is intended as a meditation on the deeper roots of our country's modern-day campaign of hidden but official violence in rooms, perhaps, like this one.
But if that's what it's all about, it isn't about it very much.
Jim Balestrieri's script is almost entirely about itself. There are wordplays, sometimes obscure and detailed, like one tying Schrodinger's cat neatly to the idea that "curiosity killed the cat." There's the main character's lament that simply pulling a gun used to intimidate a subject into talking "the sight of my muzzle would unmuzzle him." Most of the script, however, is not even as clear as this. It comes from so deep inside the writer's own mind that it fails to speak to others. Some may indeed find poetry in it, but most will find perplexity.
|AUGUST 22, 2008|
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