This is a review I wrote of Dumb Type's performance of their piece "memorandum" at the Newmark Theater in Portland, Oregon:

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 degrees.

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.