Sending Out a Prayer for the Dead Jun 16, 2013

by Eric Pitsenbarger

Second Weekend of the main stage NWNW and it's a full house of gleeful, performance hungry arts enthusiasts. A sardine tin of virtuosity and creative savoir-faire, the show’s already begun with palpable 'kid-in-a-candy-store' vibe bouncing around. Wade and I trade happy face with Dayna and Dave up in the peanut gallery. It's like ping-pong for tequila fueled semi-adults.

From out of the Clear Blue Sky Paul Butraitis delivers a gut punch of harrowing, life altering tale perched atop the mass of a chipboard box. The projection of a sputtering plane ride cut short as he descends…through the trap door up top into the box and down into our minds. His little candle theater now revealed on the outer surface as he paints for us the closed-in desperation and inevitability of death. A horror story rendered hideously intimate with a camp-fire retelling, claustrophobic in the darkened edges of small space...his expressive face coming closer then fading away. Broadcast in a technical coup de grace of projected live feed shadow box documentary upon the stark, branded surface of all American wood (a stand-in for our solid world?), it gives me the sensation of visceral, telepathic understanding. This is masterful storytelling and OTB at it's sublime high.

The New Animals arrive in signature style: Cleaned up street casual and unaffected tensile strength. Marking space, pacing and carving out connecting lines that unite and divide with a simple party zone of Dixie-cups, used for both drinking or beat-box. TRE (where were you) is a eulogy for a lost comrade and cathartic regeneration of soul. A moving portrait of survival, reclaimed power and new life, their innate qualities of laser precision and coiled, animal vitality speak of a deep familiarity with each other. Knowing glances ricochet between them as they slice through space and mold the elements to their will. Their almost super human bodies exuding acrobatic power and grace, trading the pulsing flow of energy and trust. These animals are direct evidence of the evolution of our species.

bobbevy gives us a portrait of a relationship lost in the woods. This Is How We Disappear is a stylish panorama of designed nature at once bucolic, then foreboding as it rushes away forever, sending us deeper and deeper into the maze. Never sure of our footing, it's a dance of confrontation, surrender and resignation.

The Satori Group pulls back the curtain on a world of ever-present ghosts in The Land Is Always Known. We're coaxed past the dread of perceived mystery and into a state of gypsy wonder as the unearthly voice of Abigail Bengson illustrates that lost place between recognized reality and the one existing just beyond. The large cast of punked-out zombies throw massive shade on Michael Jackson's Thriller as Abigale all but convinces me with that sinewy dark voice of hers to stay, stay in this beautiful home of the dead.