Bare Theatre examines the nature of politics in The Leader and original one-acts | Theater | Indy Week
Pin It

Bare Theatre examines the nature of politics in The Leader and original one-acts 

It's one of the basic rules of entertainment: Always leave 'em wanting more. But the charms that were present in The Leader, Bare Theatre's evening of mostly comic inquiries into the nature of leadership and politics, were blunted by the sheer bulk of the material presented.

After choreographer Heather Strickland's imaginative opening movement piece gave the phrase "the ascent of mankind" a literal bent, the titled play, an absurdist one-act by Eugene Ionesco, provided a pointed examination of crowd control by the media. As the announcer, Matthew Hager seemed all but physically elevated by the grandeur of a nameless head of state, simultaneously briefing the masses on his every movement ("The Leader is eating his soup!") while keeping their enthusiasms in check. Though Ionesco's motifs seem ham-handed some 60 years after the work's premiere, The Leader still effectively asks just how much we actually know about the ones who lead us, and about the agendas of those providing the information.

But the seven one-acts that followed—interspersed with 10 blackout sequences and four additional group movement pieces—needed a lot more editing by artistic director G. Todd Buker and choreographer Heather Strickland. The cleverness of Chuck Keith's Lemmings and Buker's Democratists' Dilemma contrasted with the belabored work in Two Rulers and uncredited, metaphorical sketches on mountain climbing and not swallowing everything one's being fed.

Hager and Matt Fields' take on competing vaudeville performers and Jeff Buckner's winsome mid-show solo deftly explored how crowds and individuals participate in their own manipulation. But overlong movement work in other places, including the finale, added little to points made earlier in the evening.

The result: about 90 minutes of truly interesting work, much of it original—in a show that unfortunately runs well over two hours at present.

This article appeared in print with the headline "Dirty old classics."

Related Locations

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Theater



Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

I commend Mr.Woods on his insight. There is a lot to think about in both his article and the following …

by natty on Justice Theater Project's superbly sung and choreographed The Color Purple has one fatal flaw (Theater)

I saw this show in Chapel Hills. This was the first time I had seen a Paperhand's show. It was …

by Irene Griest on Paperhand Puppet Intervention’s The Beautiful Beast Makes Merry With Monsters of Myth and Memory (Theater)

Great review! Fans of Decision Height and the Women's Theatre Festival may also want to check out The ArtsCenter's interview …

by The ArtsCenter on Superheroines Historical and Fantastical Power Two Memorable Women's Theatre Festival Shows (Theater)

Four of our friends accompanied us to this production. We have seen other Wendy Ward productions and loved them all …

by Gann Watson on Embark on a Timely Voyage Into Immigration Issues in I Wish You a Boat (Theater)

Thanks for the correction, Dustin. The playbill listed the wrong actor in the role.

by Byron Woods, INDY Theater and Dance Critic on Evaluating Bare Theatre's Experiment in Free Public Shakespeare on the Eve of Its Final Show (Theater)

Comments

I commend Mr.Woods on his insight. There is a lot to think about in both his article and the following …

by natty on Justice Theater Project's superbly sung and choreographed The Color Purple has one fatal flaw (Theater)

I saw this show in Chapel Hills. This was the first time I had seen a Paperhand's show. It was …

by Irene Griest on Paperhand Puppet Intervention’s The Beautiful Beast Makes Merry With Monsters of Myth and Memory (Theater)

Most Read

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation