Review of Climate Theater's - "Xia" and "Medea"
Performed at the Jewish Traveleing Theater, 470 Florida St., San Francisco, August 26, 2010
Reviewed August 27th, 2010 by Carol Brouillet
Upcoming shows - See ClimateTheater.org
Review of Climate Theater’s 2010 Resident Artists Present
“Xia” by Rebecca Cross
Last night, my son and I drove to San Francisco for the opening night of a friend of mine’s show “Xia.” Risking jailtime, I sped as we navigated through heavy traffic to arrive less than a minute before the show began. We didn’t even have time to glance at the program.
My friend, Rebecca Cross, has one of the most beautiful voices in the world. Her lyrics are profoundly moving and insightful. She is also very generous. She composed and performed the theme music for my weekly radio show, and I will always be indebted to her for that wonderful gift. I had heard about the show from Rebecca, since last year, and its evolution, but I hadn’t seen her in a long time, and while I had some idea of what was going to take place, it was full of surprises for me.
An extreme parody of Lady Gaga opened the piece with Xia wigged, dressed, courting the love and response of the audience: canned applause, and recorded music, a beautiful, seductive song, with somewhat ridiculous exaggerated lyrics, Xia basking in attention. Art, music, dance, comedy, theater combined, and we watched as the woman at the heart of the elaborate costume extricated herself from wig and garment, which was elevated several feet above the stage and came down to Earth.
The lost soul Zizi, deprived of her alter-ego searches for something. She finds, lovingly wrapped in a beautiful cloth, a musical instrument, and begins to play. Like a monk, with a begging bowl, she sings and we hear the clink of coins. Through music, lyrics, a mock interview, the trappings of Xia, which form a cave for Zizi to hide in as she counts her coins, we watch Zizi discover for herself that she is at greater peace with herself, more real, honest, when she lets go of the trappings, her cave, her hideout, the amplified sound and stage effects, and just sits down and sings, without costume or contrivance from her heart.
It was delightful to see this exploration of conflicting desires, ego, soul searching laid bare with wit, humor, grace, and music on the stage.
“Medea” by Larissa Garcia
I still failed to read the program before the second piece began with Larissa riding across the stage with vegetables in her saddle bag. A gifted actress and comedian, Larissa captured everyone’s full attention and drew out everyone’s emotions as she announced that she was there “to make a salad.” What a salad!
Each vegetable was a living entity and more. This was the story of Medea, her passion, her love, her sacrifice, her fury, her pain. It was the story of women and men, the story of a mother and her offspring. Each gesture, facial expression, word, sound was pregnant with pathos, meaning, humor. One had to laugh or cry or both.
Together, both theatrical pieces complemented one another and made an unforgettable impression upon us. A “talk back” followed, and as the audience was small, and the theater intimate, it was a rich dialogue and added another dimension to our understanding of the characters of both women and their vision for their powerful performances.
I had never heard of Climate Theater before, but they describe themselves as a state-of- the art boutique theatre laboratory. Climate has blossomed as a central hub for cutting-edge theatre, clowning, music, and new emergent art forms. With a resident artist program that comprises a vibrant cross-section of artists, the Climate is more than ever a space that stands at the center of emerging cultural traditions.
Don’t miss their shows! See the schedule at www.climatetheater.org
The next performances of “Medea” will be on Saturday, August 28th and “Xia” on Saturday, September 11th, 2010.