by Colin Rusch
Colin Rusch Post-Review Part I:
An Inevitable Comparison To The Last Incarnation:
What was, in 9x22, a rigorous, strict and stringent (silent) exploration of … "nothing?" is now playful and concise, hilariously paced and completed with an inherent crinkly sound score and fabulous green costumes. (I saw Peter Pan and a turban where my friends saw frogs.)
[We want to know where the title came from. Colin Rusch moved to New York before I could understand the reference.]
Colin Rusch Post-Review Part II:
Images Remembered Like A Repeated Dream, A Variation On A Theme
(which is to say, some things appear, some things fade, some are in my head, some are on the stage) (I still make up the bits I can't remember and sentence fragments abound.)
The beginning: the map, the battlements. I didn't count the kicks this time. (Last time there were 17. This may be a lie.) I was too enraptured by the shades of green. I missed the slight arm gestures, but I was enveloped by the sparkle, both visual and auditory, of the packing tape.
The pole, the chair, the penis joke. Am I a thirteen-year-old boy? Possibly. Do I love the penis joke? Yes. Deadpan does it for me every time.
A nod to the rolling sequence? (Kristin or Arwen standing rolling down the other's arm,, rolling back up, repeated on the floor) But mostly it disappeared. A replacement with rolling across the stage? I can't remember. (The leap that followed that sequence was still there, yippee! A new "dancey" section appeared.)
Arwen hopping across the stage, holding the places on the map she's been with her fingers, toes, limbs; she documents with dedication. (As Arwen points out our location with the pole at some other point, I am documented as well.) I love the giant map, with the red and green population density scores, its Communist connotations, its massive presence, its impassive confident air. Indifference and indoctrination all in one handy pull-down prop.
A sudden spinning hug, tightly clutching each other they whipped around the space. (It was faster this time, clearer?) It gained intensity and centripetal interest. It appeared at the right times, spinning me with an insistence demanding engagement.
The floppy rearrangement of Kristin by Arwen (on and off the chair) made only a fleeting appearance. (I was slightly disappointed by the decrease.) Surely her diaper needed to be changed more frequently? (Surely you were changing her diaper.)
Just as periodically I am whipped around the stage in this lock-tight embrace, periodically we return to the map, one standing on each side, lifting up the edges in a moment of solemn ability. Then a flurry of activity.
The countdown was still there, Arwen's butt floating inches above the chair, arrested in time and space while Kristin slouched forward, 1 through 15, hunching her steps forward shoulder-by-shoulder until her thumb extended, ready on the remote, a small unfurled penis. (Honestly, once you introduce a penis, there's no getting rid of it.) Arwen's butt, still hovering over the chair while she counts back down: "14, 13, 12 (I am counting down with her. I am never quite sure she will remember the 12. It's the hardest part of counting backwards.) 11, (Or maybe 11 is) 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1."
But first, let us return to the beginning, with 17 (or 19, or 15, or the right number) front kicks, arms out, a duo of mechanical Rockettes, framed by the map. A smattering of repeated sections. New things that have disappeared in deference to the remnants of the original piece. (Damn seniority. I want to remember.)
(The tightrope-walking section is gone, not only not repeated, but not even there at all. I remember being impressed with the exchange: Kristin balancing on the pole, Arwen crouching on the pole, Kristin crossing up and somehow passing over.)
The pole, the chair, the joke. Once again, Arwen maneuvers the pole, pointing upwards, like the drill team with their batons. Once again, Kristin has the pole, Arwen has the chair. Once again, the pole approaches the chair, only to avoid penetration bringing disappointed relief.
Mumble mumble mumble mumble? (How do I make my penis one foot long?) Mumble mumble. (I don't know.) Mumble mumble mumble. (Fold it in half.) The intonations were intact, though the words were gone. (Am I still a 13-year-old boy? Yes! No, now I'm 23.)
Does it end with the pole clattering to the floor? I don't know, but we know it is the ending.