LOL: The End
nytheatre.com review by Martin Denton
February 25, 2012
LOL: The End is a new clown show by Michi Ilona Osato and Una Aya Osato (who are sisters) and Yoshimasa "Sen" Osato (their father). Una's work has been seen twice before in FRIGID festivals; clown is new to her, while professional performance more generally is new to Michi and Sen. The lack of experience in the genre tells on this piece, which is less funny and more repetitive than it could be. But for its earnestness of purpose, LOL has clear merit.
The play begins with Michi and Una huddled under a cloth at Sen's feet; they then emerge, suggestive of babes born from a womb or the first humans bursting forth in a moment of creation/evolution. But before they break free, there are moments of rancor as the two seem to be competing for the best spot under the wing of their parent.
A time of joyful playfulness follows, but it doesn't take long for that competitive instinct to kick in once again. In a series of scenes, we see the two individuals represented by Michi and Una bicker and battle over assorted rewards and material objects. There's always one who has more and one who has less, and rather than that inequity yielding to sharing or compromise, it instead inevitably leads to argument and dissent. LOL's allegorical content is clear if perhaps too lacking in subtlety.
A projected backdrop blending the look and feel of a Facebook page with video depicting progressively more dire catastrophes provides emphasis to what's on stage.
I wished that the Osatos had found more ways to add variety to their presentation, and that more authentic humor had been injected into the proceedings. The show has a serious purpose, but that doesn't mean it needs to be serious throughout its running time.
All three performers are engaging and smart, and Sen in particular brings elegance, grace, and serenity to his movements. And they are all to be commended for stretching themselves by creating this ambitious and thought-provoking work of physical theater.