The Playgoer: REVIEW: Living Theatre's "Mysteries" (Time Out)

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

REVIEW: Living Theatre's "Mysteries" (Time Out)

I was happy to have the chance to review the Living Theatre for Time Out this week.

Like with their recent "The Brig" revival, here is a chance to see a nimportant piece of theatre history (albeit recent theatre history) fairly well preserved. I don't mean like a museum piece. Sure, some of the younger members seem oddly timid and prudish compared to the remaining old-timers. And, yes, their new space is tad too...well, nice for its own good. (The current "Mysteries," especially, should be seen in some large filthy warehouse, probably.) But their passion is still tangible and the gut sensations they evoked four decades ago still accessible.

If I may quote myself:

Seeing this legendary company—and [co-founder Judith Malina] herself—onstage reminds you of a time when theater mattered as a rebellious activity. If you go to Mysteries you may be confused, embarrassed and even pissed off. But you’ll never forget it.
This is a somewhat awkward show, by the way, to cover as a critic--given how much the audience is called upon to take part! What is one to do... take your notepad and pencil onstage with you, scribbling observations as you're simultaneously joining hands "ohm-ing" with the ensemble? (Don't worry, I put my pad down for that part.)

Any critics out there have other funny "on-the-job" audience participation experiences?


Aaron Riccio said...

Didn't Adam Feldman get called up to audition during Susan Gets Some Play? I think that's a valid part of the experience to write about, and important for the audience too, since you're there representing their perspective. Fellow Show Showdowner Patrick had a run in with a psychic at The Quantum Eye, and I made casual conversation at Seating Arrangements. For shows like this, criticism must evolve along with the performance. You seem to have a good grip on it.

Anonymous said...

I think I'm going to win with this one: I was asked a series of questions about losing my virginity while reviewing the Neo-Futurist show a few years ago, "A Duchampian Romp, Even."

For them what wants the sordid details, the review (with my answers!) is here:

Kerry Reid