An dazzling but disaffecting multi-arts interpretation of Greek myth, Iphigenia Crash Land Falls... is the result of aesthetics overwhelming substance. It is a confusingly poetic show that, once in a while, surprises you with a moment of innovative beauty.
Reviewed by Aaron Riccio
Iphigenia Crash Land Falls on the Neon Shell That Was Once Her Heart (A Rave Fable) is, in case you can't figure it out yet, a hypermodern work. What's less obvious from the title is that it is a multimedia adaptation of the Greek myth of Iphigenia (pronounced IFFY-IN-YA). Don't worry, that's even less obvious in the presentation: a ragtag bunch of scenes, solidly yet ambiguously performed by the One Year Lease company, a group determined to find ways to revitalize the classics. But this is shock therapy, and this production is almost too extreme to be likeable. It's easy to admire James Hunting's stunning set: televisions lie among cinderblock ruins and characters descend down metallic platforms and cross a dust-covered floor till they rest against a corroded steel fence that leans, like an abandoned anachronism, against another wall. It's a lot harder to extract anything from the text, drowned in metaphor and performance as they are. The word that best comes to mind is "abandon," both as in "the glory of reckless abandon" and as in "abandon all hope, ye who enter here."
Personally, I can't hate a play with lines like "lick the scabs off those valentine lips" or "shake loose that bad-luck piñata that rains down on me." Caridad Svich's words are exquisite. Her play is not. The presence of the media (those scattered TVs come with a news anchor) is not a sustained enough, and segments with the Virtual MC, while striking, are just fever dreams in the night. The physical use of space, coming from the double direction of Ianthe Demos and Danny Bernardy, is excellent, and when the play focuses on a microcosm of emotion, as in the scenes between doomed Iphegenia and her lover, Achilles, the show becomes truly theatrical.
ICLFOTNSTWOHH(ARF) is an experience, but it's not provocative enough. It is dispassionate and reserved. In the original, Agammemnon sacrifices his daughter, Iphigenia, to appease the gods. The parallel here is that now her father, Adolfo, is a dictator general, murdering her for political gains. It's a powerful point, but the show seems more interested in painting a pretty picture than a poignant one, and whatever pop there was to this show, the result is more than a little flat.
Walkerspace (46 Walker Street)
Tickets (212-352-3101): $15.00
Performances (to 9/16): Tuesday-Saturday @ 8:00 & Saturday @ 3:00
According to Lincoln Center's new LCT3 project at its slogan, it takes "New Audiences for New Artists." It also takes new critics, hence the establishment of Theater Talk's New Theater Corps in 2005, a way for up-and-coming theater writers and eager new theatergoers to get exposure to the ever-growing theater scene in New York City. Writers for the New Theater Corps are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the off-off and off-Broadway theater scene, learning and giving back high-quality reviews at the same time. Driven by a passion and love of the arts, the New Theater Corps aims to identify, support, and grow the arts community, one show and one person at a time.