warning: this following review contains spoilers if you are intending on viewing this performance:
I attended last nights opening performance of Philippe Quesne’s “The Itching of the Wings” at Lincoln Hall and will come up honest and say I was not impressed with what I saw. The show did open on an engaging note, fading in on one man casually reciting book titles in a soothing voice to pleasantly set the mood and tone of the show, however after about the first fifteen minutes the whole lot of the performance quietly faded out into a snooze-fest. After book-title-reciting-man got us in the audience relaxed in our seats, we were introduced to his wild-haired partner who would become the only other redeeming voice in the show. Imagine a quirky French Woody-Allen, circa say 1973′s Sleeper, dancing around on stage in an apparatus designed to project a wireframe image of his movements onto a wall. It was funny, I will admit, and I did enjoy laughing out loud watching his silly antics and contortions as he rolled around on the floor in an exhausting effort to gain lift from the stage, but this like just about everything else in the performance sadly did tend to grow old after awhile and I found myself impatiently waiting for the next act to begin… The inherent flaw in “The Itching of the Wings” is the authors lack of intent to guide my attention around the stage to focus in on specific parts of the performance that would better help me understand the point of the story unfolding in front of me. While the audio environment did indeed help this on some occasions, the production would have greatly benefited from the employment of a lighting engineer to cast our attention around the show. In short, there was way too much arbitrary and distracting movement on stage, e.g. people randomly milling around for no certain purpose what-so-ever, such as the following:
- dude with the faux hawk whose only purpose was to sit in different chairs reading magazines
- guy in birdman costume who kept coming out onto the stage to put on and take off the same set of clothes.
- some other guy who kept coming into the glass room to move furniture around
The best thing about this performance was the print campaign that falsely advertised the show. Yes, you know what I am talking about. That is, that clever image of the guy in a feather suit standing in front of a studio microphone, [you know, the one that's been advertised all over Portland for about a month now]. So where was this feathered man of fowl at our show?? Far from the center of attraction I will sadly inform you. You see, advertising does create audience expectations. I came here to see the birdman, front and center. If you are to put a firearm on the mantle my Dear Watson, it best be going off by the time I need to use the loo… [not while the credits are rolling lol!]
Well, I guess in the end they DID have a fog-machine… and as soon as you do ANYTHING in French it’s bound to sound artsy and cool right?
’til next time: