Brittany & Katie do this column because they love theater. They really do. And so it is with two heavy hearts that they delivered this review of Patterns, at The New Stage in Hayes Valley:
“Wall-size video projections surround the audience with an awe-inspiring panoramic view of love in life.” This was the description we read when we got the invitation to check out Patterns a one woman performance piece. Sounds awesome right? We thought so.
After the show, at the line for the bathroom
Man in line: Did you guys get it?
Man in line: Ok good, me neither.
The Verdict: This piece feels like a over-thought and over-indulgent Master’s thesis. It’s definitely interesting but not necessarily enjoyable.
The Drama Talk: Amy Munz, The New Stage founder and the creator and performer of Patterns is obviously a talented artist. But Patterns feels more like an artist’s contemporary take on Artaud’s Theatre of Cruelty, than a piece designed to entertain. The show kicks off with screaming manic laughter and devolves from there. Although The New Stage concept of immersing the audience in video projections is intriguing, the positioning of the screens made us feel like were were watching a tennis match. We had to constantly readjust and look from side to side around fellow audience members heads to catch obstructed views of the dream-like video projections. It was tiring.
Video of what looks like a cow being disemboweled plays while the character of a young girl delivers a disjointed schizophrenic monologue (not about cows getting disemboweled, mind you). It felt like a bad joke. Munz might be trying to alienate the audience, but the performance fails to actually assault the senses (largely because video screens are obscured) while playing into every stereotype of the out of touch ACTOOOR. The characters, though vibrant and distinct, lacked an arc. There wasn’t really a story to speak of, just flashes into the psyches of unstable women. Without a story, without a character arc, and with obstructed video screens which nearly gave us whiplash we didn’t really enjoy the show. This piece has so many promising elements, but this execution falls short.
The Drinks: After the show we couldn’t wait to get a drink and sort through what we just saw, luckily Sauce was very nearby. Sauce is a quaint little bar and restaurant under a boutique hotel. Katie had the moscow mule and Brittany had the American Honey Side Car. They were tasty and strong and helped us relax after a hectic performance piece that left our heads spinning and neck aching.
Patterns runs through 8/16 at the the Dennis Gallagher Arts Pavilion, and tickets can be purchased through their website. Ticket prices vary from $35-$65 depending on what package you buy.