YOU ARE HERE
nytheatre.com review by Tim Cusack
In You Are Here a woman transfers water drop by drop from a
carafe into a large silver bowl. Another one executes the same task next
to her. Periodically a third woman upstage of them bangs on a garbage
can lid and one or other of the women rushes to her for a refill. Each
is obviously in competition to see who can get the most water into her
bowl and are not above cheating to fulfill this goal—anytime one of the
women’s backs are turned, we see her adversary stealing water from her
stash. This could be a metaphor for corporate capitalism or the coming
global water shortage—or perhaps just some particularly vicious nursery
school game. I’ll vote for the latter since the two women soon discover
(although how we’re not sure) two more empty silver bowls hidden under
the table, which prove momentarily more fascinating than their water
race. Hmmm, consumer capitalism or attention deficit–afflicted
toddlers—is there a difference?
August 15, 2002
Wait a minute, actually the piece is supposed to be about time, and similar images of the futility of trying to fill its passing and of its circularity abound. In another pointless competition, the women run around in circles, drawing their path on the floor. They shout things like, “You’re in my way” and “I’ll get there before you.” One of the women spins in a giant hamster wheel. The company acts out the Big Bang and history of the universe, and then goes back to the beginning and starts all over again.
Individually these vignettes have interest, but a flow from one to another is never established. Yeah, yeah, I know that’s a very old-fashioned sense of how time should be organized on stage, but the problem is Superconductor’s [the producer of You Are Here] rejection of that doesn’t feel thought through. Rather, it comes off as slapdash and under-rehearsed. The lighting is no help, since the shadows it casts often completely obscure the events on stage. One begins to wonder if an outside eye at any point evaluated the proceedings. At the end of the piece when an important prop falls over and self-destructs, my companion and I were unsure as to whether that was a deliberate choice or just another instance of sloppiness. Time is a completely valid subject for theatrical exploration, but please don’t waste the audience’s while doing so.