Saturday, July 30, 2016

Review: Hyperbolic! The Last Spectacle was RIDICULOUS

by Kaila M. Stokes

As a seasoned theater goer, it would seem that one might have seen it all by now, but Hyperbolic! has proved that theory wrong. Mostah Black, the conceptual designer for Hyperbolic!, definitely put a lot of passion and detail into his work. What the entire show lacked was focus and an overall point. It was confusing from beginning to end. Anytime a point seemed to start to become clear, it was immediately thrust into the ridiculousness of the misadventure again. That is the best word for this show, ridiculous, which is not everyone’s cup of tea.
Let’s start with the positives! Mostah Black has passion and vision. The fusion of theater, film, fashion and dance speaks to this fact. The actors and actresses blurred the lines of gender and humanity as they pranced and laughed across the stage. If Mostah Black’s point was to not have the audience care whether the characters were gay, straight, girl, boy, black, white or what the plot was; then that was a success. An eye catching form of art on stage was the costumes. They were very avante garde, obscure and interesting to look at. The costumes were a character of their own for sure. The creativity was impressive; however, the costumes did not lend a hand in the matters of understanding any sort of plot or character development. They served more as art installation on humans. If art that has no point is your thing, then you will love Hyperbolic!
photo by Peter Yesley
The movements choreographed were stagnant, sharp and led to know where. The dance-theater aspect could have saved this show, but instead they added to the confusion. It would have been nice to see the movements develop from beginning to end. This could have been the art form that told the characters’ stories. Dance is an amazing form of expressions; it should be used as such. For everything thought that was put into this piece there was another thought that said we should be as crazy as possible, completely throwing out any validity the story ever had.
The space itself was very unique and cool. It was a two-tier theater that had a warehouse vibe to it. The actors utilized every bit of space; on the stage, in the audience, in the rafters and more. You never really knew who would show up where. The lighting must have been a challenge for this reason. But the lighting and the music were the only clues the audience had into this world and these characters. The lighting provided the actors with their necessary spot lights and provided the director with scene changes. It was very simple compared to the rest of this complex piece. The music let a small hand into the characters world. The actors were in tune with the music in movement and place.
Overall, Hyperbolic! may have just been over my head. This show was like a Jackson Pollack painting; complex in its insanity, volatile in personality and unique in its ridiculousness. As always, it is nice to see artists doing what they love, but I may skip this show next time.