Bumbershoot performances are genre-benders
So what's the difference between theater, improv, spectacle, comedy, dance-theater and performance art? Those blurry lines are getting even more blurred these days. At the 2009 Bumbershoot, there's some of each of the above, but more that cross traditional genre boundaries and defy easy categorization.
Seattle Times theater critic
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So what's the difference between theater, improv, spectacle, comedy, dance-theater and performance art?
Those blurry lines are getting even more blurred these days. At this summer's Bumbershoot, there's some of each of the above, but more that cross traditional genre boundaries and defy easy categorization.
So rather than try to place the shows in neat little slots, let's just consider a sampling of them as self-described. (For a complete list of dates and times, see the pullout guide in this edition of NWTicket.)
Cobu. Combine "rhythmic tap dancing" and Japanese Taiko drumming, and you get this energized show from Yako Miyamoto, a veteran of the wildly popular tap-grunge show "Stomp." This is Cobu's West Coast debut, and be prepared for plenty of sound and fury. (Bagley Wright Theatre)
Performance Space 122. A prime outlet for all manner of cutting-edge performance antics, this New York venue airmails in a "live bento box" of work by such outfits as the dance-theater crew Witness Relocation and an excerpt from the new music-theater piece "Radio Play" by Tommy Smith and Seattle's own Reggie Watts. (Bagley Wright Theatre)
"Wild Rose." Canadian actor Christina Sicoli performs her full-length, multicharacter, one-gal show about a "lonely and eccentric" cosmetics salesgirl determined to become a supermodel. (Center House Theatre)
"LEASE." Seattle's Wing-It Productions invites the audience to collaborate on a full-length, improvised rock opera "that fearlessly takes on Seattle-specific issues, flavors and characters as they go through their passive-aggressive lives." What? Passive-aggressive? Us? (Center House Theatre)
"FOUND." Bet you haven't seen one of these before: a multimedia comedy musical performed by New York's Story Pirates AfterDark ensemble, inspired by the cult journal FOUND Magazine. And it sounds, well, unique — a piece based entirely on "lost and discarded notes, diaries, love letters and to-do lists." Audience members are encouraged to bring their own "finds" to share, so start picking up those stray pieces of paper left at cafe tables and on bus seats. (Charlotte Martin Theatre)
"Improvised Shakespeare." A rose by any other name is ... a petunia? This Chicago-based ensemble is noted for using "the language and themes of William Shakespeare" to create a "fully improvised, Elizabethan-style play." Arrive prepared with plenty of tragic and comic suggestions. (Charlotte Martin Theatre)
Flexion. Among the various outdoor "spectacles" at Bumbershoot throughout the festival is this aerial extravaganza by Wise Fool New Mexico. They're new to us, but what they do sounds mighty groovy. The show "features five acrobats on stilts rolling into backbends, splits and a myriad of sculptural forms, set on an elegant freestanding aerial rig." In their publicity photo, that big, shiny rig looks like something made from a toy erector set. And acrobats "hanging, falling and flying on the cutting edge of humanity and grace"? Whatever you wanna call it, bring it on!
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