no dice

let’s see…Culturebot has been all caught up in the holiday hubbub and some personal life transition stuff that has resulted in a serious lack of posts.  We saw Yellow Face at The Public and quite enjoyed it, thank you very much. Hm. What else?

Oh and last night, just to show how far behind we are in our theater-going, we finally got to see Nature Theatre of Oklahoma’s No Dice which is easily one of our Top Five of the past year.

Back when Culturebot was just a wee Culturebaby in the suburbs of Baltimoristan there was this place where all the high school kids would go to hang out.  On the summit of a hill in a park near an elementary school there was a tree that we all called, accurately if not imaginatively, The Big Tree. And on any given weekend you could find most of the kids from my high school “partying” there.  It was there that my best friend and I first spoke to each other of “The Cosmic Hum” – which is that electrical hum of all of creation, the Om, the vibration of the celestial orbs, the musical tone that encompasses all Being, all that ever was and ever will be, in this moment, now. Right now.

I hadn’t really thought of it in years, not since I last read Ginsberg, not since I went through my last quest for meaning outside of the temporal. Which is to say a long time, since mostly these days I’ve been wrapped up in myself, in survival,  in all the worldly and social things that make up life in NYC. The fleeting things, you know, of status and acquisition, accomplishment and notoriety, intellectual competition, etc. etc.

But anyhoo… I digress. The point is that No Dice was incredible and I can’t believe that I didn’t see it until now. Well I can believe it. I have a hard time with long shows. And most of the long shows I’ve seen, most of the “epic” shows I’ve seen, well, they really haven’t necessarily been worth it. (I haven’t seen Gatz yet either, believe it or not, and everyone says that it is totally worth it. So here’s to hoping.)

Anyhoo… again…. No Dice was amazing. At this point I assume everyone that reads this blog is familiar with the show or has read the Times review, but if you haven’t, the idea is pretty simple. Director Pavol Liska taped tons of mundane, random conversations with his friends and family to capture the lost, fleeting, random and tedious moments of everyday life. He then transcribed them and the company as a whole (I think) collaborated to build this show in which the dialogue is artfully staged. So basically you layer an ironic version of a High Art Fancy Theatre aesthetic on top of the most trivial daily conversations imaginable. Which in and of itself was no small feat – to make it interesting, funny, clever, inventive and insightful.

BUT THEN after the intermission the show takes this left turn into an entirely wider, deeper, bigger, heavier universe.  Some of the dialogue from the first half returns and is played in an entirely new way, it just opens up into this other dimension of meaning.  I don’t want to give any more away if you haven’t seen it yet, but it is remarkable.

Oh and in case anybody else who saw the show was wondering, I asked Pavol after the show what the source material was for the speech made by that the actress who takes off her white wig and shades (don’t know her name, sorry) and he told me it was from the conversations of John  Cage and Morton Feldman.  Would love to see a complete bibliography of source materials for this show.

I think the rest of the extension is totally sold out but it is worth trying to get in.

And if I don’t post anything until 2008, well, have a happy New Year!

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