Published: 09/19/2013 | 0 Comments Posted
The Object Lesson
You’re in a large theater space, stripped to its brick walls and gym floor and filled with huge piles of cardboard boxes. Some are seats, but most are full of detritus. At first, you’re encouraged to explore. Eventually, Geoff Sobelle rips open some boxes, slowly uncovering the artifacts of a life. How did he do that? Who’s going to clean all this up? Push your questions aside and embrace this whimsical and profound experience. Through Sept. 21, Christ Church Neighborhood House, fringearts.com.
1 Hit Wonder
Held in what looked like a VFW Hall in the back of Urban Saloon, 1 Hit Wonder poked fun at pop music in the lamest and tiredest ways possible. Michael Jackson jokes? Check. Mocking hipsters? Check. Finally taking Selena Gomez down a peg? You better believe that’s a check. Yes, modern pop music is often terrible. But look at the charts from any era: There’s always garbage. It’s just that Led Zeppelin is memorable while the Captain & Tennille are not. Strangely, Kanye West was mocked, despite his latest, Yeezus, having no hit singles and being a fairly challenging piece of art — everything the show seemed to say was so needed. Closed Sept. 12.
The Ballad of Joe Hill
Reviving a 2006 Fringe show, Swim Pony assembles the story of the martyred union leader according to a sort of dream logic, using props, song, movement and scraps of dialogue. No one performer plays Hill — after all, there’s a little Joe Hill in all of us working stiffs, right? That is to say, the pro-worker message isn’t subtle. Neither is the cast of hectic, scrambling union-worker “clowns,” who most of the time are grating and distracting. But the show was never boring. Director Adrienne Mackey makes effective use of the telescoping stage of Eastern State Penitentiary’s hallway, sometimes setting scenes in the foreground and in the distance simultaneously. Hill’s strange and compelling life story is dark at times, but Mackey ensures it’s memorable. Closed Sept. 15.
(Images courtesy Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison, Jacques-Jean Tiziou)