Vivarium: An indoor enclosure where small animals and plants are raised and observed under natural conditions.
As the audience filed into the theater, we briefly became the small animals being observed (I won’t say too much here — go see the show). Quesne likes the word “vivarium” because it “implies an artificial setting — the theater — wherein the recreation of a ‘natural’ order takes place.” And mixing up this natural order results in a new context in which anything can happen. So for a moment, it was a mixture of actors, audience members, a table of odds and ends, a mattress on the floor in one corner with a man lounging on it, and so on. Add to that a philosopher discussing Plato’s Phaedrus (when love arises, wings grow), a dentist whose passion is constructing winged creatures, projections of various kinds of flight, (both literal and figurative–all entertaining to watch, and some of them lovely), a tai chi practitioner who’s given up drugs, and a guest appearance by Portland’s own punk band, Worms, and you start to get an idea of Quesne’s complex and compelling “The Itching of the Wings.”
Part self-conscious meditation, part tongue-in-cheek presentation, Quesne’s piece is a rich study that utilizes video and audio clips (bird sounds, anyone?), interviews with interesting characters, great stories told by the actors, a flying skeleton and a birdman in a feather suit who dances a jaunty jig. Hard to resist. Especially since it manages to be a dense, layered work of substance without taking itself too seriously. Elements of the show (like disparate voices and parts merging into a common narrative, compelling story-telling, etc.) reminded me of last year’s Lone Twin show. Don’t miss “The Itching of the Wings.”
posted by L. Moulton
Shows run Saturday 9/9 and Sunday 9/10: Portland State University, Lincoln Hall, 9 p.m.