This is a review I wrote of Dumb Type's performance of their piece "memorandum
" at the Newmark Theater
I was really blown away by the dumb type show last night. I liked it a lot.
As I was warned, it was indeed very loud, but i had earplugs, and
it wasnt loud for long periods of time. also it was the kind of
loud sound that you can feel physically, and it makes you glad
that it's that loud because it has to be to be able to feel it
like that. and it wasnt an annoying loud like at noise music
shows, it was nice visceral deep bass and clicky crisp cybernetic
bleeps and beeps. in fact i wouldnt be suprised if some people
did not use their earplugs, thinking that it didnt SEEM loud
enough to warrant their use, but then later found their hearing
at least temporarily, and maybe permanently, impaired by the
extrememly high power pure tones. So if you go, wear those plugs,
whether you want to or not! (fyi, the sound is by composer Ryoji
Ikeda, who you may or may not have heard of and whose name may or
may not make you think "ah, that explains it".)
the technical production was AMAZING. the lighting and its
interaction with the video, and both interacting with the sound,
was beautiful. there were strobes, there were high intensity
video media collages, and at times live video of certain parts of
the stage captured by a hanging, sometimes swinging camera.
the stage design was really exceptional too. there was a huge
rear-projecction screen in 4 square segments across the back of
the stage, and they must have been staggered slightly, though you
couldnt tell, but because of this the performers were able to
"disappear" by slipping through the gaps between the screen
segments. they also used other layers of screens that were
fogged, to make people behind them all blurry to different
overall the experience, visually, was one i've only experienced
wth canned, highly processed and edited film or video, people
appearing and disappearing and climbing up walls and turning into
bears and rabbits and more. it was amazing and very inspiring to
me that it was live.
content-wise, the piece was about memory and it seemed to also be
about how memory or lack of it influences social interaction,
ambition, design, and more. like a lot of modern dance or
"abstract theater' i find myself 12 hours later still wondering
exactly what the creators were trying to say.
but anyway, if you live in portland and you can afford it ($23),
i would highly recommend going tonite, the last night.
and, if you live near where they're performing in the future on
this tour (chicago or minneapolis), i highly recommend it too.