Dramatic Despair

Meta play evokes savagery in Adobe's Is Life Worth Living?

by Christie Chisholm, Weekly Alibi, April 5, 2012 

The sleepy Irish town of Inish suddenly bursts with the grotesque. Where hotel clerks and housewives once salivated at the thought of a scandal for the simple fact that they had never witnessed one, the streets are rampaged with suicide pacts, attempted murder and the unearthing of old wounds.

The catalyst for this sea change is the theater. Not a magic theater or a play rooted in dark scriptures—just the idea of theater itself. This is the guiding philosophy behind Lennox Robinson’s Is Life Worth Living?

Constance Constantia and Hector De La Mare have been brought to Inish by John Twohig, owner of a hotel as well as the town’s pavilion, where he has asked the two actors to perform. In an effort to infuse Inish with culture, John has signed a contract with the De La Mare Repertory Company to put on deep, thoughtful and often morose plays through the end of the summer. A sampling of the pair’s lineup: Leo Tolstoy’s The Power of Darkness, ultimately about the slaughter of a baby in a cellar; A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen, in which a happy marriage unravels with blackmail and betrayal; and Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard, wherein a refusal to sell a family farm leads to lost love and forsaken opportunity. It’s an uplifting run.

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Perfect Sense

Seems this sexy sci-fi drama forgot something

by Christie Chisholm, Weekly Alibi, March 22, 2012

First, humankind loses its sense of smell. The disease comes like a tidal wave, sweeping across the globe but without any known point of origin. Perhaps it’s a pathogen that’s caused this pandemic anosmia, released by terrorists or by a Darwinian mutation. Perhaps it’s a sign of some cosmic expiration date. Whatever the strange phenomenon, the people it’s disabling can’t figure it out, and all the unaffected can do is wait their turns.

Losing your sense of smell is one thing. Never breathing in the aroma of another freshly peeled tangerine or the musk of a lover’s skin is a poignant idea. Although stripping people of their ability to sniff their surroundings may make the world less redolent, humans are adaptable. They move on.

But next comes taste. It disappears from the world’s collective palate. And then it’s sound. Then sight. One by one, the senses are extinguished, ultimately leaving 7 billion bodies with no way of understanding where they are or what the hell they’re doing.

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Down in the Depths

UNM's Eurydice is an otherwordly, fiendish delight

by Christie Chisholm, Weekly Alibi, March 15, 2012

The mythology surrounding Eurydice and Orpheus is very old, but playwright Sarah Ruhl’s reinterpretation of the classic is modern, colorful and mesmerizing.

The foundations of the tale remain. On Orpheus and Eurydice’s wedding day, the bride dies and is sent to the underworld. Orpheus goes to claim her and bring her back to the land of the living, and in doing so he is given one instruction. He must walk to the upper world trusting that she is behind him, never looking back to reassure himself. Of course, Orpheus can’t help but break this singular condition, thereby losing Eurydice forever. Heartbreak ensues.

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Choreography and Couscous

Global DanceFest's sensory smorgasbord

by Christie Chisholm, Weekly Alibi, March 8, 2012

You’re in a room with a stranger. Perhaps the person before you is a sculptor. Another time, it’s a medical supply salesman, or an opera singer. Perhaps she’s an astrophysicist.

In each instance, you begin to dance, and as your body winds about, the stranger tells you what she thinks of it and directs you to do more. An architect wants you to “be poetry.” A sommelier asks you to tell her what you smell in a blacked-out bottle of wine, drink it and then respond with motion. One person tells you to have a “real relationship” with an inanimate object—say, a chair.

This is the world in which Wally Cardona and Jennifer Lacey existed while conducting research for their newest show, Tool Is Loot. Stationed on different continents—Cardona in New York City and Lacey in Paris—they were set up with strangers who were experts in fields other than dance. Each pairing lasted a week, beginning with an “empty solo” by the artist and morphing into a discourse between dancer and stranger.

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New Mexico Rugby

by Christie Chisholm, LocalFlavor Magazine, March 2012

I wonder how long it would take for my fingers to go blue with frostbite. Then I wonder if it’s even possible to get frostbite in a dry, windy desert. But standing out in the middle of UNM’s Johnson Field on a cuttingly windy February night, scribbling down Patrick McBride’s words as we look out on a frenzied herd of men, half of whom are wearing shorts, I think, yes. I’m going to get frostbite while they’re playing keep away.

McBride’s rugby team, the Albuquerque Aardvarks, seems as though it’s staffed half by gladiators and half by woodland elves (the lean, muscular variety a la Lord of the Rings). Team coach Jonathan Gray runs over to shake my hand, and I can hardly wrap my fingers around his palm. He’s one of the guys wearing shorts, but because his broad shoulders tower over my head, it hardly seems strange. He must have gladiator blood. McBride, on the other hand, is slender and graceful in appearance, emphasized by his form-fitting black uniform. Gray looks like he could push over a rhinoceros, but McBride looks like he could run circles around one, and that’s kind of the point.

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