Akogare No Pari | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Akogare No Pari

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Doorika, at Bailiwick Arts Center.

Reviewing experimental theater always feels dangerous--especially in the case of Doorika, a collective that describes what it does as "borderless, saturated meta-linguistic theatre experience." In other words, the only concrete information a reviewer can provide may come directly from the press release.

Akogari No Pari--the third part of Doorika's trilogy "Saajury"-- supposedly explores the breakdown of structures, "of ritual, of convention, of language," and concentrates on sexuality in its many manifestations. What we see onstage is circular, absurd, often incomprehensible, and always intriguing. The piece begins with what appears to be a birth from beneath a giant plastic kimono, while a high-heeled shoe spouts smoke in the foreground (possibly recalling the Enola Gay). This densely woven tapestry of movement and sound also appears to celebrate buttocks, and there's some tantalizing work with a pink hoop skirt that seems to double as a vagina. A couple engages in stylized intercourse while a voyeur coaches them over the telephone, and a modern geisha in a smart wool suit never leaves her knees as she attends to the needs of the other performers. Everyone onstage has the cold, glittering intensity of a very calm ax murderer, which makes the piece at once baffling, forceful, and unrelentingly creepy.

Billed as a work in progress, this final half hour of the trilogy feels more like an aperitif, whetting the appetite for the full production scheduled for March. This piece can feel rushed at times--one gets the impression Doorika has not fully settled into or fully explored some of the images. And repeated movements are not given the chance to evolve into anything precise, although that may not be Doorika's aim.

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