THE UNSPEAKABLE ACT
nytheatre.com review by Erik Sniedze
If “In Living Color” had been created at a college dormitory
party, the result might have been something like the Plain
Clothes Performance group’s The Unspeakable Act.
August 15, 2002
Kicking it all off with a fabulously unspoken “Fly Girl” introduction is the most notably engrossing theatrical opening in recent memory. Bidalia E. Albanese (choreographer and Empress) churns out most of this mind-numbing creativity, beginning with a mellifluously managed group montage depicting the courting of a Japanese Emperor (Eugene Solfanelli) and Empress.
Unfortunately the group decides to talk, and that’s when the loud-speak acting starts, with Victoria Lee as the fiery gilded Narrator, who addresses the audience as the hip-hop grandmother of the Empress. Lee signifies such with her old woman warble. During the opening address, the new Empress becomes mad beyond reason. She speaks in multiple orgasmic spurts while perpetually tonguing, rubbing, and ramming her hand into her lower orifices with a Moulin Rouge Kidman commitment and fervor. Albanese’s Empress and her valley girl Lady-in-Waiting (a character attempt by Vanessa Yuille) heat up the antics with an uncourtly spanking session. I gather later on that the Empress is mad from not having had sex with her enervated Emperor, a ruler who would suddenly rather desire a Parisian school boy masseur (Serving Boy Josh Truett’s self emasculation). The same Truett, who wrote and co-directed, also plays the sole Hermit capable of exercising the Empress of her public pubic display. After the first false happy ending, and some more delightful dance breaks, the Hermit changes into the black-dick-dangling and dissolutely degrading Demon (the jiggly and shameless Steven Hess, also the other director). This Demon upsets the court once more and drives the Empress back into a new state of hump-the-hostess insanity.
According to the program, The Unspeakable Act was developed by the Plain Clothes Performance group through improvisation, and structured haiku, using an ancient Japanese fairytale as the springboard. It does not, however, seem to have moved beyond the improvisatory stage. The costuming is one of the only Japanese elements that inexplicably remain. And the soft pop K-Tel soundtrack, thinly disguised as sound design, does little to enlighten. Like most of the aural elements it is self conscious and comments on its own funniness. The music does however keep the production style consistent in this very dated pledge week party-cum-pseudo-modernized fairy-tale.