Saturday, March 24, 2007

Mix Up

Imago Theatre
Posted by Followspot March 23, 2007; closes March 31, 2007

“I wish I had OCD. That would explain everything.” Well, maybe not, but again Imago has left me feeling stupefied, perplexed, distanced, and ultimately depressed by what comes across as avant-artsy obfuscation. I’ll admit it: I just don’t get it. Maybe never will. Maybe just not my cup of tea.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Saw this on Saturday. I loved it. Then again, I'm from Boston and dare I say, theatre is more forward there (see BLUE MAN GROUP). I found this refreshingly honest, charmed and very multi-faceted. It's much deeper than one might get at first. The subtext is huge and the acting roles are very, very demanding. I can't remember the their names, but the directors of IMAGO seem to be leaps and bounds ahead of much Portland theatre, in my opinion.

They really impressed me when I saw FROGZ in Boston.

Both for MIX UP and FROGZ, I felt like I went to theatre on a side street in London's West End. What a treat!

Anonymous said...

WOW I literally laughed out loud...."I'm from Boston...theatre is more progressive there" (See Blue Man Group) Okay honey first off Blue Man group started in NYC in the early 90's...and at this point it's a fad that is SOOOOOO OVER (see pentium commercials) seriously get over yourself and your quasi-intellectual motif....theatre is about communication-- if the piece doesn't comminucate with the audience...then NOTHING happened except masturbation...(oh- kinda like Blue Man Group)... but really your post was cute.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 3/30.. did you even see the show? Or were you just criticizing someone's opinion without firsthand knowledge of the content?

Meg said...

Anon 3/29: So, OK: please elaborate on Mix Up's depth and subtext .... and above all the unintelligble (to me) style of presentation .... Tell us what you saw that many of the rest of us didn't catch or appreciate. What characteristics made it seem "West End" and why are those important to you?

Anonymous said...

Anon 3/30 1:13pm.

I was actaully commenting on the other anon's obsurd intimation that Boston theatre is somehow more progressive than here and also that The Blue Man group was is some sort of profound theatre experience....the rest is your own baggage.

Anonymous said...

Not really looking to get into a pissing match, here. Portland's provincial. There. I said it. More than the narcississtic hype and self-hugging labels it likes to wrap itself in, it's a child that feels threatened by anything outside its borders that's seen as good. My point was/is: if one opens one's mind, one just might see how these characters epitomize many of the neuroses, trials and tribulations that most of us face. But, nooooo, not in Portland. Everyone and everything is perfect here! Funny, if that was the case, Portland’s Employment rate, wages, air quality and customer service wouldn’t all suck hard.

Ariel’s character in MIX UP is scared. She fears death and all the dying around her so much that she acts like a child. Similarly, her boyfriend reverts to denial and deflection. Dead adults come back as children, signifying the cleansing they’ve achieved in afterlife (as though death might bring clarity), as well as re-ordering perspectives. We all get lost in the details too much sometimes, no? When we stand over the Columbia Gorge or the Grand Canyon or at the Top of the CN Tower, we’re reminded of how small and insignificant we are. A child seems a great vessel to communicate this sensation, no?

Not to mention, this is a dreary tale that has moments of hilarity. Not an easy accomplishment. When I saw MIX UP, the audience was in stitches several times.

The MIX UP caricatures (can you say “caricatures”), like those of Kevin Smith’s revered films and cartoonist Al Hirshfeld, are not exact. They’re represented as hyperboles of true humans, like the characters portrayed in the aforementioned creators works, to illustrate something(s) deeper.

Outside hippie culture here, Portland, the city that “loves dreamers” (yeah, right), it seems, can’t fathom much of anything truly new, instead falling to pieces every time something new comes along, every time someone truly blazes a trail. Seems to me that, like Blue Man Group (which originated in NYC, I know) and their very own FROGZ, Imago seeks to innovate (can you say “innovate”?)

And just what does Portland do when they innovate outside of cute animal costumes? It navel gazes in a confused daze, scratching its proverbial head. Just because YOU didn't get it, doesn't mean it's not good. This blogger said as much when they started this thread.

To its credit, the media liked MIX UP just fine. To some posters discredit, you seem antagonistic of anything intellectual and those of us proud to pursue intellectual exploration. Typical. The USA: land of intellectual bashing. Incredibly, some Portlanders show their true colors and their TRUE disdain of intellectualism in discussions such as these. My impressions. So, please don’t bash me for having an opinion that I back.

As for Boston, land of Dresden Dolls, The Tribe, Shakespeare and Company, American Repertory Theatre, Bernstein, Fiedler, Dickenson and Frost (not to mention, the eloquent speeches of JFK), it’s experimental and cutting edge theatre orgs (Company One, Devanaughn Theatre, The Súgán Theatre) are numerous and varied.

My point was/is that, in spite of all this Boston treasure, it is IMAGO, based right here (and under-appreciated) in Portland, that is the standard many theatres would do well to live up to. Apparently that remarkable ability they possess to make us think, to challenge us, isn’t cherished or revered here, as it is in Boston.

BTW, like Miranda July, Wade McCollum and many, many others, I think I’m leaving this struggling burg and its overly hyped, underpaid “scene” behind, so don’t tell me to leave, ok?

It's just sad to me that the same theatre (Imago) that has them lining up to get in from France to Boston to Broadway, leaves its home-city baffled and un-appreciative. This is the enlightened city I heard so much about back East? How so? I don't get it.

That’s all. Kill me for adding perspective. :-)

Anonymous said...

I found Mix Up really hard to take. The quality of bugs and excrement was nauseating. The plot of drug addiction, pregnancy, simulated sex, the outhouse, the soiled puppy microphones, high pitched voices, children singing off tune. I wanted to escape but couldn't.

I suppose if you really want to see some modern day existentialism, go, enjoy.