HYPERBOLE: ORIGINS – Rogue Artists Ensemble at [Inside] the Ford – Los Angeles Theater Review

by Tony Frankel on December 6, 2010

in Theater-Los Angeles

Post image for HYPERBOLE: ORIGINS – Rogue Artists Ensemble at [Inside] the Ford – Los Angeles Theater Review


If Hyperbole: Origins were to be reviewed as a play, I would tell you that I had no idea what the playwright was trying to say; since no writer is credited, we’ll just assume that the Rogue Artists Ensemble is merely musing over the origins of things, such as music, fire, sin and even the audience. They call it “an original, adventurous celebration of myth, music, movement, mania and the connection between all of us.” Well, maybe, but it felt like a series of collegiate-level pieces that use puppetry and music to tell stories and myths with the through line being, “How Stuff Begins.”

The problem for a reviewer is that there’s not much to review. Some portions worked, some didn’t. A highly elaborate display of technology was utilized, but the use of gizmos, such as video screens and masks, wore out their welcome when it became clear that there was no bigger picture here. Before we enter the theatre, we are invited to feel free to participate (you know, like Children’s Theatre), yet there is precious little for us to do – so we sit and watch about 20 short skits that are part Commedia Dell’Arte, part Mummenschanz, part Kabuki…a hybrid of theatre traditions that do not cohere into a new theatre tradition. Is it performance art as theatre? Theatre as performance art?

Let’s review it as a family outing, shall we? Bring the kids and let them thrill to a puppet penguin and an Icarus-like alien boy, who are your emcees to a world of wondrous imagination and cool disguises! Let them know that their next science fair project can shoot for the moon. Open up a conversation with the little ones about the genesis of the Big Bang Theory. Answer their questions about the birds and the bees after a really funny puppet of Adam gets a big puppet boner when he sees a puppet Eve and little puppet sperms fly all over the place! Teach them that there’s a world of really cool original music out there that is way cooler than High School Musical. Talk with them about why storytelling is so important. After seeing Hyperbole: Origins, inspire them to use their imaginations and create a puppet show of their own.

You older teens and adults may need a serious toke if you want to experience any more than that.

tonyfrankel @ stageandcinema.com

photos by Rogue Artists Ensemble

scheduled to close December 12 at time of publication
for tickets, visit http://whatistheorigin.com/

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