Nature Theater of Oklahoma at OtB (in Eastlake) Mar 6, 2009
No Dice is like Netflixing an entire season of a tv show you really like. You just keep watching it, even though you feel like you should probably stop and do something else. You keep watching because it feels so damn good. If you stop you’ll have to go back to your real life, where people are saying pretty much the same things you’re watching the actors say, but the actors are way better at it. No Dice is full of bizarre theatrics, gestures that repeat in a satisfyingly non patterned and non random feeling way, and melodrama that is so laugh out loud funny that it can also break your heart. It’s stylized to the point that it feels totally okay to completely relate even when it’s embarrassing. (I eat Kozy Shack at night too). The result is the kind of art that feels more true than reality — just like those florescent lights popping on were more like waking up than waking up.
Only two things about No Dice weren’t my cup of tea. Around hour three I wanted it to end — while repeated gestures and blocking and emotional states were riveting, repeated text was as disappointing as a rerun in the middle of the season. There is also a time when the actors seem to go all natural-I’m-just-a-person-talking-to-a person on us and it strikes me as an unnecessary footnote, an explanation of a work that does not need to be explained.
That said I am happy to report that at the end of four hours NTOK managed to leave me wanting more. Things shifted off in a new direction in what must have been the final quarter with a completely engaging imitation of an imitation of a cabaret act, which I adored. And the projected phone conversation — that was the honest footnote that got the job done. Thank you, NTOK, for ending with the perfect employment of the cardinal rule of musical theater (for the second time in the work!) -- when it’s too big for dialogue, dance.