nytheatre.com review by Judith Jarosz
February 4, 2011
In this solo comedy mime/clown piece (first timers, don’t be scared, it’s fun)—co-created by Chad Lynch, who also directs, and Lake Simons, who performs it—we are treated to an hour of vignettes in which a woman regularly escapes her routines in life by stepping into the world of her imagination. This kind of art can look simple, but in reality it takes a great deal of training and control to make it look effortless, and is not unlike professional dancing in that respect. Simons, who does the show in a simple costume of dark pants, white sleeveless shirt, and sturdy practical shoes, is a talented physical comedian and mime and always fascinating to watch.
Of the scenes shown, I really thought that the first one had the best structure and pacing. We see the character go through her day, from waking in the morning, preparing and then traveling to work, getting through the work day, socializing, traveling home, then relaxing and winding back down to slumber. Sounds simple enough, but all of this is accomplished with a chair framed by a clothing rack on which multiple props hang on strings with counter weights at arm’s length around her. As Simons pulls down each prop from alarm clock to toothbrush, then discards it back to its hanging position, she takes us through her day in vivid detail. It is charming.
Other scenes invite us (literally for one lucky audience member) to a bizarre tea party with a string-free marionette who proves a less than polite guest. Flirtations ensue for a scene where man and women meet and are smitten, with Simons doing a wonderful job of playing both. Watch the masterful way that she shifts from “masculine” to “feminine” body expressions, and the creative use of two hats for the sweet conclusion. In another segment, we follow the lady into a closet where a seemingly innocent dress on a hanger turns into an intricate journey involving a ship, an island, and a wild horse. Throughout the entire 60 minutes we are treated to everyday objects transforming before our eyes. Remember how much fun and essential that kind of activity was as a child?
Lynch directs with an attention to detail that is marvelous, though I do think that some of the scenes have less of an arc than others and seem to peter out without a clear conclusion. The music choices run from Strauss to Led Zeppelin, and are well suited to the actions and enhancing to total experience. Ayumu “Poe” Saegusa’s lighting design also goes far in creating the moods, from closet to jungle.
Kudos to Adam Adams at One Armed Red for creating the Creation Residency Program at his company, allowing this form of art to be presented, and in a comfortable setting.