Kommer is divided into two parts – 1/2 live theater and 1/2 film, which together form a multilayered narrative, complicating layers of “reality” and “acting”. Of course, it’s all acting, but are the filmed, documentary-style characters somehow more authentic? Kommer explores ways that emotions are obstructed, processed and ignored through physical activity. Characters lose track of their bodies, wandering in a daze. Driven to distraction, they mindlessly change cd tracks, tear apart plants, kick over tables or grasp each other. Unsure of how to help, what to do or where to be, they hesitate, stall, give voice to hollow clichés. The “play” concerns the awkwardness of group mourning, and a desperation for some kind of ritual in the midst of overwhelming emotion – just tell us what to do, how to act…
This absurd theater is somehow completely unconvincing and yet totally familiar. Lines are delivered in a stilted, unsure manner. Or is this the deeper “acting” of delivering expected lines of comfort? “We are all empathizing here.” Authentically inauthentic?
When alone, the characters seem taken by some deeper, unidentified malaise, which they act out through violence, alcohol, driving, exercise and eating. What utter loneliness characterizes this half, as solitary figures seem unsure of what to do with themselves, how to spend their time, how to be productive, how to connect with others. Whereas the object of grief was clear and identifiable in the first half, here it is pervasive, internalized and insidious.
Kassys are skilled in finding the telling moment, the revealing gesture, the inner vulnerability, the dead giveaway. Perhaps Kommer is a comedy, but only in the sense that we “laugh to keep from crying”. Identification creates a spark of energy, which must be expelled through a convulsion. And yet it’s also authentically funny – or funnily inauthentic.
- posted by Seth Nehil