nytheatre.com review by Susan Rankus
August 11, 2006
I, Marlena, written and performed by Laylage Courie with music composed by Dan Nettles, is essentially a poetry reading/Power Point presentation about Marlena's observations and reflections regarding her experience working in an office. It is set to live New Age jazz music and is a unique, very experimental performance art piece. I would not recommend seeing this if you are looking for a more traditional theatre experience.
The set appropriately reflects the work environment. It consists of a table, laptop computer, projector, screen, jugs from a water cooler, and Post-it notes, which are used to label everything including the performers. Even the programs, which are printed on time cards, fit the office motif.
Overall, I thought the piece was very clever. I thought the Post-it note labels were very funny, even though I'm not sure if that was the intended tone, and I wished they were bigger so I could see more clearly what was written on them.
Courie speaks with true passion. One can clearly see the words mean a great deal to her and evoke great passion. The band consists of Nettles on guitar, Aryeh Kobrinsky on bass, and Jason Nazary on drums. The group plays with a great deal of zeal and I could really feel their love for the art form. Unfortunately, the band, although they played beautifully, were too loud. I couldn't hear what Laylage was saying over all the music.
The slide show presentation concept is a very creative touch, but not utilized fully. The piece was finally more of an audio experience leaving me wanting more visual stimulus. I wanted to see more slides, more pictures, or maybe even a great deal more modern dance movement. If you are really into this art form, than you might enjoy this piece; but, if you are new to it, I wouldn't recommend it as a starting exploration point.