two takes on Linas Phillips' <i>Lasagna</i> Jan 16, 2009

by Tania Kupczak

To miss Linas Phillips’ Lasagna is to pass up the season’s freshest helping of experimental theater. Linas has shone a light on himself before on stage and screen, but never to such expansive effect. It helps that his companion in that unflinching light is Jim Fletcher, an artist and performer of unmatched warmth, charisma and humanity. But Jim’s presence would mean nothing if his (reciprocated) brotherly love for Linas were not so imperative, so disarmingly real. Many an experimental theater performance applies intricately timed and smartly conceived layers of thought and method—high–tech or low, experimental performance so often relies on some kind of disconnection and refraction between voice, body and image. It’s a rare show whose ingenuity serves the more important master of raw, confidential, uncomfortable and deeply complex love. Strong support from Leah Schrager, a live score by the consummate Lori Goldston on cello and guitar(!), cameos from Jim's daughter Shana as well as Kate Valk and other NYC friends, and an emotionally hard–core documentary bit add to the expansiveness of the work: it's not just about Linas, but about the poetic, spiritual and apocalyptic possibilities his reality—and relationships—evoke. -Dayna The father the son and the holy alien The piece is immediately honest and willing. The characters carve out their space and in so doing invade ours. We are taken to our knees by a retard and a main character who can’t concentrate long enough not to jerk off. The setting is lonely, the room is a hospital, the character needs hospitalization. Are we witnessing protons, electrons and neutrons? The ego, super ego and id? The reptilian brain stem, semantic cortex or futuristic frontal lobe? The treat we are witness to is one of honesty and risk. Just like the sperm that dries up in the tissue under your bed, not all spirits wind up conjoining with the light: and if so is it a matter of choice. The number three is the perfect diplomat, unless the forces are equal to the center, and stagnation occurs. The psychology is oppressive and questions the intellect’s role in the evolution of the happy modern man. -Dave