For the past 15 years, local Albuquerque theater company Tricklock has organized the Revolutions International Theater Festival, in which national and international performers of dance and theater come to our little desert town. It isn’t always the best stuff, but at least it’s different, and the fairly incestuous local Albuquerque community can always use some shaking up.
I saw three performances over the weekend and there will be plenty more diverse events for the remainder of the month, including lots of stuff on weeknights.
Additionally, the performances were dedicated forebodingly to “the family of the victims,” whatever that meant. One Google search later, I found that a Russian soldier had allegedly killed seven members of an Armenian family. A six-month-old baby was initially the sole-survivor, but recently died too, on Jan. 19.
“Dreams” was clearly the piece that was adapted last minute. One man and one woman performed with nearly a dozen pillows scattering the stage at Carlisle Gym here on UNM campus. Mostly it was abstract, the man and woman telling an almost nonverbal narrative that looked like the love and angst, and, when one pillow seemed to give birth to a comically smaller pillow, it was likely that pregnancy was also involved.
Overall, the piece was enjoyable, but it certainly seemed unrehearsed, especially when paired with the second performance, “Colors.”
The piece was vastly more involving of the two performers than the previous effort. Movements were more varied and the chosen music seemed more specific and poignant. Certainly whatever abstract emotion was being conveyed held more energy as a whole.
The two performers painted a bit on monolithic canvases, then seemed to do battle with each other physically, like dueling creative interests. Then there was a lot of scarf work I didn’t quite understand as the lights dimmed a bit too much and the performers moved to the very back of the stage. It was difficult to really see what they were doing, partly because of their distance and lighting.
Ultimately, the piece would have benefited the most from the dancers utilizing the space more. The stage at the Carlisle Gym is fairly immense and the space could have been put to good use.
The next night, I saw Mexican performers present “Antígona en la Frontera” on the main stage of the National Hispanic Cultural Center, where the audience displayed a lot of similar faces to those of “Soldiers/Colors.” The play concerns a time-traveling Antigone, from the third play in the Oedipus Cycle.
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It’s also completely in Spanish.
As cool as it was to see theater in a language other than English, I mostly just found the play confusing. This had little to do with the language itself, but more the choices made by the actors.
One man played flute live onstage, but there were chiefly three actors: a man and a woman who played different parts and then another woman playing the unstuck-in-time Antigone. The first two performers played many roles and the delivery of every single line or moment was marked with the most intense, operatic delivery. It was also remarkably difficult to discern when they truly shifted characters, save the use of the big, clear Burger King crown. Perhaps they received an endorsement. Antigone, by contrast, was completely unstated in every way. The disparity was a bit confounding.
The most fascinating aspect, however, was the play’s social consciousness. Much of the layered commentary reflected issues with the United States/Mexico border, which is an issue that can certainly never get enough attention. Antigone, however, was consistently and graphically abused by the other two hammy actors, which was mostly highly uncomfortable.
But life’s short. And life’s a crap shoot. So if you like art and want to see something unique to Albuquerque, go to some Revolutions performances. You may not even like it. But at least it’s different, which is often even more important.
Graham Gentz is a theater and film reviewer for the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @DailyLobo.