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  •  REVIEW: OTHER BODIES

      Other Bodies
    Gender meander

    The idea of putting a rapist into a woman's body was so promising that the writer of "Other Bodies" couldn't stop writing it.

    By ELIZABETH BACHNER
    Offoffoff.com


    What happens when a womanizing advertising exec wakes up in a woman’s body, the morning after committing a rape? Flux Theatre Ensemble’s "Other Bodies" raises this question, taking up issues of gender, human relationships and power. Then there’s a ten-minute intermission, and the play screes wildly and interminably into weird, confusing territory, bringing in God, comas, being and time, repetitive breakfast metaphors and cancer patients with a sort of bizarre, surreal, deistic existentialism, as if those questions of gender, human relationships and power just aren’t deep enough, in and of themselves, for a two-hour Fringe show.

    OTHER BODIES
    Company: Flux Theatre Ensemble.
    Written by: August Schulenburg.
    Directed by: Heather Cohn.
    Cast: Vince Nappo, Christina Shipp.
    Set design by: Jason Paradine.
    Costumes by: Tiffany Clementi and Hannah Rose.

    Related links: Official site
     SCHEDULE
    Flamboyan Theater (at CSV)
    107 Suffolk Street (at Delancey)
    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 two actors in "Other Bodies" competently manage their intensely challenging roles, which require character-shifting, gender-bending, many passionate soliloquies and some quoting of John Donne. Rather than resorting to clichés about the characters, the costumes (by Tiffany Clementi and Hannah Rose) stay simple and clever. The sets by Jason Paradine are also inventive. There’s some beautiful writing squeezed into the unwieldy plot, and I guess the sheer ambition of this project deserves a nod.

    But after God comes into the script, "Other Bodies" is so inscrutable that it gets boring at some of its dramatic moments, and unwittingly comic at others. It’s a pity, because this is clearly a project taken on by talented people, with elements of great potential. It’s just one that misfires. Maybe the problem is that Flux Theatre Ensemble has a mission to use “the transformative freedom of theater to re-imagine the boundaries of human connection” and “explore the surprising evolutions of the human spirit.” This kind of heavy, heady plan can get a bit hubristic.

      Other Bodies
    In his playwright’s statement, which I read a few days after seeing the show, August Schulenburg reveals that he began working on the project a decade ago, and every time he thought he was finished, “something new would reveal itself and demand attention. At times it felt like excavating ruins — just when I thought I was done, a new find revealed another room to unearth.” At times, he noticed, the three parts of "Other Bodies" “seemed like three separate plays, until a flash of insight revealed them to be wrestling with the same angel.” He compares the work’s style, if not its theme, to string theory — its five languages like five fingers, with physicists unaware that they were all part of the same hand.

    I won’t trot out my own string theory metaphors here, although it’s awfully tempting. "Other Bodies," like many beloved decade-long writing projects, needed a clear-eyed outside editor to come in and say, “This is three different plays, and one of them can be turned into something great.”

    AUGUST 19, 2008
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK


    Reader comments on Other Bodies:

  • Elizabeth's take on Joyce   from James Joyce, Aug 19, 2008

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