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    2008-2009 reviews:
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  •  REVIEW: EXTRAORDINARY RENDITION

    Extraordinary Rendition

    Signifying nothing

    "Extraordinary Rendition" is a soliloquy so obscure that it says almost nothing intelligible about the official violence that inspires it.

    By JOSHUA TANZER
    Offoffoff.com

    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."

      
    EXTRAORDINARY RENDITION
    Written and directed by: Jim Balestrieri.
    Cast: Michael Ray Fox.

    Related links: Official site
     SCHEDULE
    Walkerspace
    46 Walker St. (two blocks south of Canal between Broadway and Church)
    Fringe Festival 2008, Aug. 8-24, 2008

     RELATED ARTICLES
    Fringe Festival 2008
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  • Reviews:
  • Anaïs Nin Goes To Hell
  • beast: a parable
  • Blanche Survives Katrina in a FEMA Trailer Named Desire
  • China: The Whole Enchilada
  • The Corn Maiden
  • Extraordinary Rendition
  • Hidden Fees*
  • The Longest Running Joke of the Twentieth Century
  • Lucasville: The Untold Story of a Prison Uprising
  • Mourn the Living Hector
  • A Nasty Story
  • the october crisis (to laura)
  • Other Bodies
  • Prayer
  • Psalms of a Questionable Nature
  • Raised by Lesbians
  • Reasonable Doubt
  • The Third from the Left
  • Zombie
  • 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.

    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
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK



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