Personifying in Unparalleled Ways Jun 10, 2012

by Eric Pitsenbarger

A bunch of friends (evident), get together and build a contraption: A performance piece about love. The tremulous, sweet voices carrying a pure message. The yearning, euphoria and eviscerating tragedy of love. Through song, through the switcheroo of mouths and instruments, through many hands working as one. Pulling cords, pushing buttons, playing guitars and maneuvering mics, the darting and connecting eye contact, the comfort and acrobatic display of humor bouncing around...I am as fascinated by the connecting, familial relationship that percolates under the surface as they all in turn rage and wail, serenade and coo to us and each other. Each member an individual, each voice and body lending themselves to the entity of this piece. Hand2Mouth and all around the stage to zap us with a dose of life's heady drama so cleverly documented and delivered. So good natured and real. Not saccharine, but pure of heart. I feel you.


Mike Pham dances on the head of a pin as the flickering shadow of feeling between billboard projection of Shakespearean quotes. Tragedy silently blasting, dense prose mashed together and picked apart, projected and jammed past the natural editor desperately trying to corral such massive feeling forced into such small quarters. The effect is that: impossible description of concentrated, paramount, immediate emotion...over-arcing panic and sorrow, of despair and finally embracing and succumbing to death. Glimpsed in a blinking, Nu-Buttoh Hallmark card from hell.


Upon the large empty stage, Sara Edwards alone opens her mouth to begin a lonely sea shanty song: evoking a clipper ship lost at sea, the waves swelling, falling...her voice quavering forth from her small frame, a perfect cameo of vintage Americana. Joined by: the People's Grand Opera, Walt Whitman's text is reenergized by warm, confidant harmonies and a beautifully mis-matched family of faces. A thoroughly modern and yet strangely perfect rendition of a sepia print poster from a vanished era, this group simultaneously reincarnates and re-invents a lost art. Steam punk scrimshaw. Gorgeous. 


Kate Wallich & Crew are like Gods. They are the beautiful young Titans of Greece who are totally committed to supporting the world upon their shoulders, of marching past any obstacle...of taking on a universe and winning! They will not harm you, they are friendly giants who see past mere mortal horizons to serve and protect and to master the chaos that threatens our world. Take solace in knowing they are here.