Parts is Parts
nytheatre.com review by Kat Chamberlain
March 5, 2008
What happens when a heart is broken? Very little in life seems whole anymore. Parts is Parts sets out to show the amazing amount of things that can become broken, broken down, or broken apart, as a result of shattered emotions. This show, created by and starring "The Real Kim Harmon", who is accompanied by Laureen Briggs and a three-piece band, is very fittingly part gallery art, part interactive theatre, part musical, and part psychological investigation of the subliminal form. It has no true narrative, but the mélange of creativity somehow manages to express a lively heart in full.
Since the show relies on the surprising and the unexpected, I can't really give away the pieces of the puzzle that audiences are invited to put together. I will offer, however, what I find to be the strength of the theatrical glue that holds the show together. First there is Harmon as the broken-hearted...literally. She uses objects, colors, tools, and artwork to infuse the imagery, impressions, and feelings of the fractured and shattered reality that is life. Her interpretation has to connect with ours for the senses to work as intended, and she is very effective in forging that connection. She is at once tender, raw, and brutal, her body and movement every part of the performance.
Harmon's partner, Briggs, is often a counterpoint to Harmon's quest of repairing her torn heart. She reacts to loss in a more conventional way, taking to drink, anger, and surrender. She is also the comic relief to Harmon's achy vulnerability, her physical delivery natural and formidable.
Visual cues being eminently immediate in the performance, the words and music are in fact what render it all pulsatingly alive. Both Harmon and Briggs sing compellingly. The band, composed of Roger Carmien, Cody Giannotti, and Alex Tuttle, fuses its spirit and musical art into the show. The poetry that serves as monologues is the best part of the production. "My problems can be largely attributed to the inaccuracy of my expectations," Harmon laments, and the audience laughs with sympathy.
The show is not without faults. Sometimes the dots are so obvious—the metaphors a bit tired or the allusions too familiar—that there is no need to connect them. It is as if the show is self-conscious of its avant-garde disposition and comes down from the ride from time to time to guide the tour. I would much rather it speeds ahead and never looks back. As good audience members, we'll try our best to hold on.