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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"There is no normal anymore."

Sure, there's a bar right there.

But if you go to Bushwick Starr to see Witness Relocation perform, you should, perhaps, think about limiting your alcohol intake. After all, someone will need to keep a level head.

I'm Going To Make A Small Incision Behind Your Ear To Check And See If You're Actually Human--a title that would have consumed nearly all of my word allotment at The Village Voice--should raise the alarm right away. Whose head and ear are we talking about here?

Situated on a funky Bushwick street--and I do mean funky, what with water inexplicably gushing from an apartment window and big mounds of excrement dotting your path--Bushwick Starr sits at the top of a steep flight of stairs, suggesting an unholy alliance between the old Dixon Place and the once elevator-less WOW Café. Filled with Witness Relocation performers milling about, its space is a tiny wedge as miniscule as its hip-hop-blasting sound system is mighty and equally in your face. The rising seating area fits about 60 people. On evenings between now and December 18, you'll immediately find director/choreographer Dan Safer's actors simmering in an atmosphere of low-grade chaos preparatory to an event that will be unique for them and everyone in attendance.

IGTMASIBYETCASIYAH runs by chance operation. As the audience assembles, Safer offers several people a bucket filled with ping pong balls, each identifying a pre-determined scene or an idea for a theatrical exercise. These legends correspond to sheets of paper that will be tacked up on a wall as a kind of score and ripped down as one wacky scene yields to the next. By picking a ball, you become a part of theater history, helping to bring disorder to disorder.

Think of IGTMASIBYETCASIYAH as a shuffled deck of cards, and its shuffling leaves no theatrical convention respected.  (Last night, we were welcomed to the roughly 50-minute show about 20 minutes into it. As one actor later said, "There is no normal anymore." Fair enough.) The resulting mashup encompasses romping movement, full-contact storytelling and pop-cultural parodies; it's like a sci-fi alien movie slash therapy session with an underlying game show vibe. In the course of things, many, many things, one gets to savor the hallmark of Witness Relocation--fluid, mercurial, downright gutsy physicality. Besides the frequent eruptions of mega-action, tiny details--say, the play of thought or emotion across the features of a face--are given intense and expert attention.

IGTMASIBYETCASIYAH stars Heather AndersonNikki CalongeEmily DavisMike MikosWil PetreSam Pinkleton and Kourtney Rutherford. These guys are just plain fun.

I'm Going To Make A Small Incision Behind Your Ear To Check And See If You're Actually Human plays at 8pm through December 18. Space--as noted before--is limited. For detailed schedule information and to purchase tickets, click here.

207 Starr Street, between Irving and Wyckoff, Brooklyn
L to Jefferson Street. Exit at Starr Street. Walk against traffic on Starr. Theater is 3/4 block on the right.

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