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|A CurtainUp Review
God Is A DJ
By Amanda Cooper
The show in this uber-loft style white-painted theater has been translated into 15 languages and staged in major cities including London, Amsterdam, Zurich, Athens, Copenhagen and Barcelona. It begins with a long video projected onto the back wall of the stage. A young male (the He of the He and She who make up the cast) travels around New York and beyond, using cutting edge video imaging and manipulation along with a relaxed, beat-inflected voice-over monologue accompanied by computer generated music. After about ten minutes our young couple casually walks onto the set, making themselves at home as they watch the video.
As expected, as the video sequence ends, He and She take over the action. They are supposed to come across as the quintessential young urban couple: attractive, hip, smart, no lack of money, in love, having fun and oh yes, artsy. Unfortunately, added to these characteristics is also the inevitable shadow of, for lack of a better term, posing. Sure, He's got a certain haircut and pants, but he's also wearing an Adidas sweatshirt. She has just enough blond streaks to give off a Carrie Bradshaw vibe, and let's not forget that Ms. Sex and The City did indeed live on the Upper East Side.
The ungodly long intermissionless show is filled with fact and fiction about these two characters. We learn that we are watching an art installation for which they are handsomely paid. We get glimpses of how their life style affects their relationship.
Taken apart, segments of this show are fun, even witty and satirical. However, tt does not come together as a whole. A dark directorial undertone is left messy and floating. The production overall feels a bit hollow, as though the creative team did not fully grasp this mainstream counter-culture. Ultimately, the concept of selling out, and the tongue-in-cheek recognition of doing so feels very turn of the millennium -- not quite far enough away to be nostalgic, but not timely either. Sure, Reality TV is HUGE, but God is a DJ has a more highbrow/lowbrow art commentary going (and let us not forget that The Real World came about in the Nineties).
Sarah Fraunfelder who plays She makes a valiant effort, but is unable to sustain the high-emotion moments ( she was great in Theater Faction's Oresteia earlier this spring). Timothy Ryan Olson as He seemed unable to find grounding for his character, giving the impression of bouncing from line to line. These issues are more about translator and director Yuval Sharon whose translation is fine and full of interesting ideas but fails to gel as a whole. Erik Nelson's video work is more interesting than his sound design. Nina Egli makes a cameo appearance on screen as a flustered, uptight interviewer trying to communicate with Fraunfelder. That cameo may just be the cleverest part of the evening.
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
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Leonard Maltin's 2003 Movie and Video Guide
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6, 500 Comparative Phrases including 800 Shakespearean Metaphors by CurtainUp's editor.
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