Jerk Nov 6, 2008

by Tania Kupczak

In this show, one performer creates vivid scenes of the most horrifying acts of violence using just a few little hand puppets. I had been warned that it was a dark performance and I was excited to see it. I was full of curiosity about where a storyteller would be able to take us using a method like this. But as soon as it started, my curiosity was satisfied and my instincts of self preservation and personal safety took over. First of all - I had not adequately prepared my girlfriend who was sitting next to me, expecting to be delighted by the novelty of an avant garde puppet show. Next, where was the exit, just in case? This is a subject matter that I would personally never care to investigate. It's upsetting and terrifying that such things can happen. Telling this story with animal puppets is probably the only way I was ever going to be able to engage in it. Even then it was material for nightmares, nausea and panic. As a piece of craftsmanship this piece is wonderful. The performer's emotional commitment to the story and to the characters carried the audience through a very vivid world. For me the real event of the evening was not the show at all but my own reactions to it. The series of mental actions that I took to try and make myself feel safe as the piece carried on, told a story themselves. It was a story about how I protect myself from the violence of life and I refuse to engage in the terrible world around me and instead build a fantasy life where I am safe. In conclusion: This is theater that really deserves a lot of attention. It's not often that I'm scared in a theater. It's kind of like for an hour, reality television, the 10 o'clock news and Jerry Springer's show never existed and instead you are watching a primitive kind of storytelling and you can't believe that what you're seeing isn't real. - Evan Ritter