…it certainly offers intriguing Visual Experiences.

Glenn Loney, New York Theatre Wire

January 15, 2011

Brain Stripping Möbius’ Convoluted Chaotic Cerebral Confusions at LaMaMa…

In Henrik Ibsen’s final drama, When We Dead Awaken, the grim discovery is that: We find that We Have Not Lived.

Ildiko Nemeth’s crazed Dr. Möbius is not quite dead yet, but he fears that all his Researches may have been in Vain: His Brain has been his Map of the Exterior World. His intense Interiority–rather than strict Scientific Observation of the World Around Him–has projected his Thoughts & Fantasies onto Reality.

Working with a young Female Assistant–who seems rather better Oriented than Dr. Möbius–they begin a Surreal Survey of Evolutionary Development. This begins with amorphous forms, Amoeba & Plankton, which end up in the Belly of the Whale.

[A propos of Whales, a Jonah like fellow critic has just referred to the Christmas show at the Irish Rep as A Child’s Christmas in Whales…]

From Single Cells, Möbius & his Aide advance to the Ants, watching a Queen & her adoring Worker Ants. Despite Ants’ supportive Colonial Organization, even their Queens can wear out & die.

Onward to the Bees, a Higher Order, perhaps, but still Hive Oriented. Also with a Queen Bee…

Dinosaur Bones are not overlooked, but Dr. Möbius doesn’t move on to analyze Human Folly.

I’m not sure that this quick sprint through the Darwinian Corridors of the Origin of Species solves anything for Dr. Möbius or for Nemeth’s audiences at LaMaMa, but it certainly does offer intriguing Visual Experiences, notably the unusual white Wire Sculptures that adorn her white clad Players, as they dance & sing about their brief lives on the Lower Levels of Creation…

The oddly Transformatory Images that are also projected–along with Titles that recall Old Silent Movies at MoMA–are also a Visual Feast.

Jonathan Slaff’s Press Release for Nemeth’s novel Theatre Adventure quotes someone named Glenn Loney as being in great admiration of her production of The Round of Pleasure, based on Dr. Arthur Schnitzler’s La Ronde. Schnitzler, fortunately, was no Dr. Möbius…

Not only did I admire the way Nemeth visualized Werner Schwab’s adaptation of Schnitzler’s Viennese Carousel of Love High & Low–in which the Good Doctor was trying, very subtly, to show how Social Diseases can be all too easily transmitted–but I also suggested that this show should be presented at the Salzburg Festival.

They’ve already offered The Nature Theatre of Oklahoma at the Salzburg Festival. Round of Pleasure is miles ahead of Telephone Conversations about what the Respondents remember about the Plot of Romeo & Juliet…

Ildiko Nemeth’s earlier Oh! Those Beautiful Weimar Girls! is also a production that deserves to be more widely seen…

It’s worth noting, also, that in its 49th Year, Ellen Stewart’s LaMaMa ETC was virtually the first Post War Avant Garde Theatre Workshop where, as they say, Anything Goes!

But, unlike Ellen’s Imitators–most of whom managed only a ten year run, before they wore out–LaMaMa is still there & she is still offering stages where dedicated young Writers, Composers, Directors, Performers, Designers, & Techies can still experiment, unfold their Fledgling Wings & FLY…

It’s wonderful how such Young Ensembles can be so Talented & so Dedicated to Art Experiments that are never going to land them on Broadway or in Burbank. You hope they also have Day Time Jobs!

But don’t forget: such Luminaries as Harvey Keitel & Bette Midler were once Aspiring Novices down at LaMaMa…





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