Fine, but if only there was more intelligence, style, imagination.
Although one of the festival’s most anticipated picks, Leonie Bell’s “We Live to Die: The Grieving Widows Club” by Local Grandma won’t open until Monday, the works I came across most fall short of their stated ambitions. Today, many descriptive programs, especially at the outer limits of Exponential’s residence, tend to read as licensing applications promising the excavation of Large Subjects. The reality is often just ho-hum – call it the “all bark and no bite” syndrome.
For example, we were told that Joe Hendel’s “Artificial Intelligence (Human)” is about “a bunch of weird valley-dwelling cyborgs, exposing their hybrid, hybrid psyches to that of world to gain a sense of control over their cybernetic-defined fate. “What we got was a shapeless digital montage of anxieties, with lots of dialogue taken from subreddits like r/MensRights and r/CirmatologyGrief. The poster’s toxic admixture. The initial insecurities, resentments, and hostility were confusing, but it’s unclear what the show is trying to tell us about that.
Self-indulgence also hindered Braulio Cruz and John-Philip Faienza’s “Flow My Tears,” in which Cruz mused out loud for nearly an hour. Relief sometimes comes in the form of electronic music breaks. The more rhythmic-oriented clubs have successfully evoked the buzzing atmosphere of a Berlin club – the kind of experience where you can lose yourself, until a guy walks up to you. to share his important thoughts. “Flow My Tears” continues to show some doom reels and ends up using the name Philip K. Dick in vain.
Justin Halle’s “Case Study: A New Kinsey Report,” directed by Dmitri Barcomi, takes a more playful approach under the glamorous guidance of drag queen Nancy Nogood — the last time the festival was lit. Classic stage style. Like “Traffic,” “Case Study” incorporates QR codes, but no technology can make up for a rambling scenario that lacks coherence (a problem that plagues almost every project). ). Still, it’s hard to be completely disappointed by a show that features the dance to Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Emotions.”
In addition to “Traffic,” another work has come close to achieving its ambitions: “RecursiveCast” invented by River Donaghey, in which Tad and Tammy (Spencer Fox and art director Theresa Buchheister) host a podcast dedicated to sci-fi series titled “Recursion.” The show is structured like a series of podcast episodes, with visuals replicating a Spotify page. Donaghey nailed the language of science fiction, for example, with casual references to a dodecasphere, adopting the fan’s tendency to assign great importance to details.
“RecursiveCast” shares with “Traffic” a structure that has fallen into uncontrollable turmoil, with the world falling apart despite our best efforts in finding some sort of order, whether by trying to escape a travel disaster or by scrutinizing mediocrity. If there’s ever a lesson to be learned, it’s that technology may have allowed the Festival of Powers to happen with tough odds, but hey, we all have to die!
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/27/theater/exponential-festival.html At Exponential Festival, Case Studies in Taxonomy