by Beki Pineda
EVERYTHING WAS STOLEN – Created and directed by Emily K. Harrison. Produced by square product theatre (presented at Buntport Theatre, 717 Lipan, Denver) through April 6. Tickets available at 1-800-838-3006 or everythingwasstolen.bpt.me.
The evening has started by the time you walk into the theatre. The actors have begun to wander out on the stage and warm up. As more and more arrive, the movements begin to take on a more structured appearance. Three or four are putting on invisible make up, another group are doing exercises, mock bowling, faux smoking, invisible tightrope walking, having gunfight type showdowns, random but purposeful movements here and there on the stage. At no time are they all doing the same thing at the same time. Behind them on a projection screen, equally random videos play out scenes that have nothing to do with what’s going on on stage – cowboys riding through the prairie, atomic bomb explosions, mash ups of old Hollywood dancers (but not dancing to any music that is playing), floods, amusement park rides, Apollo lift-offs, even unseen before footage of the Columbine shootings. There is so much going on that you don’t know where to look. This large cast of thirteen moves with purpose but purpose known only to themselves. Patterns begin to slowly emerge and the title denoting stolen things begins to make sense. The “stolen” things slowly rise from the chaotic movement – land, rights, culture, hope . . . The shady past of American heritage shows its myriad parts.
Billing itself as an avant garde theatre, square product experiments boldly with form and pattern. To be a truly meaningful piece, I felt this one needs a bit of pruning. Too much to watch with not quite enough focus. By the end of the long one act presentation, you could just begin to get the idea of what was desired as a final effect. it all felt just a little indefinite. I would have loved to have had a talkback after this performance to learn what the director’s vision and the actors take on the evening was.
I have to admire Ms. Harrison’s vision and creativity; I’m sure the rehearsal period was an amazing trip for the actors. They did, however, fulfill their mission with this evening: “to engage in radical acts of inquiry that leave an audience with just as many questions as answers”!!
A WOW factor of 8!