Drama Talk & Drinks: “It felt like a bad joke.”

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?
Katie: Nope.
Brittany: Nope.
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 $30-$65 depending on what package you buy.

15 Responses to “Drama Talk & Drinks: “It felt like a bad joke.””

  1. Might be a good idea to send these ladies to something you know they’re going to like, because they’re shaping up as the “kov” of theater on Mission Mission — they hate everything. If you want to be a “Mikey”, you have to surprise everybody by liking something sometime.

    • drinksuknow says:

      but they do like something.. drinks they get.. no problem there
      :) )

    • Bob says:

      Looks like someone needs a lesson in the concept of reviews…”send these ladies to something you know they’re going to like?” …REALLY??? That defeats the whole purpose of theatre review. If you are an actual follower of Drama Talk & Drinks, you would know that Katie and Brittany do enjoy some of the shows they see. And let’s be real…theatre in SF is sub-par….so most of their reviews are extremely fair and accurate.

      • drinksuknow says:

        problem is, in order to review something/anything you have to have a clue :) ) these ladies have no education, no experience and no desire to learn anything about modern art, modern performance art and the likes..ask them about ‘video art’ – no clue. ask them about ‘video installation’ – no idea. ask them about ‘performance art’ – nada. but ask them about drinks and they put themselves out there as experts in finding the right bar..
        it’s like hey, why not start a bashing party, just because we can huh..
        actually, what they do is nothing but ‘hate speech’–look it up if you don’t believe me.
        it’s just that they are probably clueless when it comes to stamping on people’s rights too..

        • Bob says:

          Yeah dude, they both have theatre degrees, and in fact both currently work in the digital arts and know quite a bit about video AND performance art. Check your facts, man. But please keep posting these fake conversations you’re having with these girls about their work, and how they don’t have answers for you…it’s cute, and quite entertaining.

        • Bob says:

          Plus, Katie has been involved in theatre for years…both acting and directing…just saying…

      • I feel like I should apologize for encouraging this massive troll on a single post with my tease-y little comment. Not my intention, nor do I endorse the opinions expressed by “drinksuknow”.

        Perhaps I should have written something more like, ‘send these ladies to something you think they might be interested in,’ because I have read most of these things since the series started, and the overall impression they’ve given me is that, while the reviewers don’t actually hate everything they see, they seem confused by or dismissive of it often enough that I can’t get a handle on how to evaluate their opinions. Of course, that could be selective memory, but that’s all anyone has to go on — we’re not going to re-read all past reviews to see how the scales balance.

        Maybe theater in SF is sub-par, but you don’t have to review everything you see. “Garbage in, garbage out,” you know?

    • Ariel Dovas says:

      Yeah, I would like them to like stuff, as would they. And they have liked some shows. I don’t have time to pre-screen what they see.

      • drinksuknow says:

        but the do like.. stuff.. clearly, they are in love with their drinks :) )

        ‘liking’ stuff and ‘knowing’ stuff should be nicely delineated don’t you think.
        people don’t usually ‘like’ the stuff that they cannot understand. this is the case with these ladies here.. they present themselves as ‘reviewers’ of art, but a quick due diligence check shows they have no qualifications in this field. Zero, zilch, nada..
        but they know a good bar when they see one :) )

        • Ariel Dovas says:

          Actually, due diligence shows you the exact opposite. They both have theater degrees. You don’t know them, and you’ve never actually had the conversations you’re pretending to have had.

          But clearly you’re only interested in making baseless assumptions and anonymously accusing people of hate speech for disliking a show that you have some kind of emotional stake in. I’ll go ahead and make my own assumption: you’ve seen it and you think it’s good. Instead of bullying our reviewers, would you like to send us your take? I’ll publish it as a separate response. It seems risky to give you your own platform, considering the tone that you’re comfortable taking here, but why not turn this dialogue around. Show us why we should believe you. Maybe we will.

          If I’m wrong and you haven’t seen it, go see it! It seems that at the very least this review should be able to work for you to do the opposite of what our reviewers say!

          • drinksuknow says:

            is this comment you wanted me to see as due diligence:
            “one says:

            October 18, 2013 at 8:29 am

            I know, right? They did more research into what bars to go to after!”

            Sounds like the ladies have got a reputation :) )

            Actually, if you follow their links, it takes you to http://www.philanthrolab.com/about where the cited background is:

            “Brittany Janis is a Cleveland to Brooklyn to San Francisco transplant.

            After spending some time in the realm of political fundraising she jumped sectors and began working for non-profits, finding new ways to make good things happen for the good people and causes she supports.

            A Master of Philanthropy and Development, she recently received her MA from St. Mary’s University Philanthropy and Development program, Brittany is excited to explore ways to make meaningful change.

            Brittany is currently empowering youth to transform their communities as Development Manager at BAYCAT located in the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco.”

            No mention of any background/expertise in the Arts. None.
            Coming straight from the source.

          • Ariel Dovas says:

            Yeah, that page has nothing to do with her theater reviews, so it obviously doesn’t mention her theater degree. Did you want to give me your review of the show, or are you just hanging out here to complain about our reviewers?

          • drinksuknow says:

            Since you’ve asked, here’s a comment made about another review found on the internets (warning: it will not address the type of unbelievable, priceless insight the ladies bring from the toilet talk and bar hoping:)):

            “I really like how you were able to create such a descriptive parallel between the use of theatrical techniques (Munz speaking over voices and figures on the screen, for example) and the more philosophical dichotomy between memory and reality. Whenever I go to a play, the thing I am looking for the most is to be rattled and to walk away confused and overwhelmed by the philosophical message underlying each monologue. That’s when I know that I’ve really been positively touched by the piece of art. You did a really nice job of capturing that philosophical debate and of leaving me, as the reader, without having even seen the play, with the same internal confusion. You rattled me, in the most positive of ways. The question regarding our ability to recall memories in an accurate form is one that i have thought a lot about and the opportunity to dive deeper into its complexity by seeing “Patterns” is something I would look forward to.”

  2. drinksuknow says:

    “Without a story”..
    wow.. what a discovery.. maybe next time you want to talk about something you should actually ‘read’ (I mean if it’s not too stressful for you) like the first line on the web site? that clearly says:
    “features a series of magical vignettes”

    trying to see something that wasn’t gonna be there in the first place.. hmm..
    sounds like you did enjoy the drinks though. stick to what u know best
    :) )

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