Panic!, Richard Foreman, Ontological Theater, 4/5/03
Set design even more baroque than usual. Lots of dolls.
I had told Gary that there would be plastic separating the actors from the audience, as I’d seen in other Foreman plays -- to continually emphasize the artificiality of the drama? To present the audience with a screen of their own reflection through which to watch the play? No plastic this time. Later we get the voice-over explanation -- "…protect yourself by wearing the transparent blinders with which you have been provided – oh, forgive me – I see you’re already wearing them!" So our own glasses serve as the barrier -- also -- our "perspectives."
Lots of string and rope tied across various parts of the stage.
The protagonists in these plays are always bifurcated. The polarities of inner conflict. In Panic there is a dual bifurcation -- two males and two females.
Crazy Infantile Pirate vs. Tough Guy Burning Man Saracen.
Soft Spoken Girl vs. Angry Dominatrix.
He hugs her -- she feels him up for his wallet.
Magician’s closet on wheels -- chorus (class structure?) stick swords through it. It doubles as outhouse -- and a negative image of self -- bones rattling in a dry box.
Singing Dominatrix stabs guy in ass with sword.
"My mouth is sealed with gold."
"Kiss me, kiss me, where I am most ruined inside myself."
Painfully bright light shining in the audience’s eyes for most of the play. Totally headache-inducing. Intentionally making the audience uncomfortable. At some point a voice over says "watch THIS you bastards!" Art as sadistic gestures toward audience? Like Bruce Andrews' poetry?
The hoodwinked master statue busts used as stools. Vision for the reception of artistic tradition.
The patented Foreman painful electric zap sound that scatters everyone on stage in wincing retreat. Major pain causes major scene changes, as in life.
Shaking the giant bees into the giant vulvas
Vulvas become furry medieval hats. Exit stage left.
"A new perspective can only repeat old patterns."
Licking today’s baked goods
Mayhem / see-saws are police dividers.
"This is my ticket to a much better world"
Five foot mobile disco ball phallus.
Lights up and down -- day and night -- like large amounts of time passing -- Cecil B Demille…
Beating on everything with huge plastic clubs.
Beautifully choreographed riff-switching between static dramatic scenes and complex layers of lateral movement. Everything here is choreography, include the acting and the text.
Sporadic uncomfortable laughter from audience.
The contradictions involved in the competition for happiness. The contradictions of guarding happiness.
"Catastrophe is right around the corner."
Giant phallus-gun with white money basketballs as ammo.
Coming out of the bathroom with a decapitated head.
Nothing to join.
Hara-kiri for everyone!
The themes build paratacticly.
"Only my enemies convince me the world is real."
Everyone goose stepping.
The Augusto Boal / Brecht polarity between character as object of history and character as isolated subject is very blurred here. You could think of the drama as an absurd expression of subjective inner conflict, but the conflict always feels equally imposed from history and from the internalization of the terms of exterior conflict, in a comical-schizoid style.
"It’s… Not… Fair…"
"I need tools to accomplish redundant behavior, please"
Getting what you want is an ice cream cone.
The visceral child-nightmare X monster at the end -- "the thing entering the room -- I don’t remember what to name it."