Saturday, December 5, 2009

Jeremy Wade: Cute, then not so cute

Director-choreographer Jeremy Wade concludes There is No End to More--performed by Jared Gradinger of Berlin's Constanza Macras/Dorky Park troupe--at Japan Society tonight. So, people, there really is an end to No End. Try, try, try to get in.

This production--and Gradinger's demanding, non-stop solo--hit me with the force of a thousand-thousand stars. If that sounds like a wild exaggeration, let it. It should give you a sense of the intensity of the manga-fabulous text dreamed up by writer Marcos Rosales with Gradinger and Wade, the increasingly maniacal, nightmare visuals by illustrator Hiroki Otsuka and video artist Veith Michel, and Brendan Dougherty's breathtaking sonic design.

Moving in the jerky, grotesque style that Wade, a Bessie Award winner, has made his trademark, Gradinger depicts a nerdy figure trapped in an overheated mental bubble filled with obsessive fantasies and fanciful artifacts of Japanese kawaii ("cute") pop culture. Gradinger believes he is "wearing a three-piece suit--and a cape."  He is "being chased, chased by...I don't know what!" As kawaii commercialism spins out of control, fantasy slips into sad realism which, in turn, becomes sinister phantasmagoria. This work is rich, visceral, unforgettable.

And enough cannot be said about the creative imagination--that sheer, defiant, leap-of-faith agility--of Yoko Shioya, Japan Society's perceptive artistic director. Following hunches, she commissioned this work from the Berlin-based Wade and brought it to New York, sight unseen. She tends to do this kind of thing, and bless her.

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