Poor Dog Group's Five Small Fires Looks at What Happens When a Cult Is Right (GO!)
Jennie MaryTai Liu and Catherine Ventura
Blending techniques of New York's Wooster Group and Sheffield, England's Forced Entertainment, L.A.'s own Poor Dog Group's performance piece, under Jesse Bonnell's well-pitched direction, poses a timeless conundrum.
Efren Delgadillo Jr.'s set includes pairings - of mirrors, screens, video monitors - inviting us to see the world through sundry reflections. There also are a drum set and video cameras on the stage, which represents a community center in Glendale (home of the KKK and neo-Nazis, as one character points out), where five would-be revolutionaries are holed up and waiting to be captured by the cops for something terrible they did in Costa Rica. The quintet use their last moments of "freedom" to broadcast stories and sermons about the state of civilization and its discontents.
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The performances (by Jonney Ahmanson, Bradford Culver, Andrew Gilbert, Jennie MaryTai Liu and Catherine Ventura) are beautiful and beautifully orchestrated as they present the ultimate paradox for the disconcerted among us who naively yearn for a civilized world. The members of this horrible cult have no business running their own lives, let alone the world beyond it. And yet they're right about the way in which corporate, omnivorous greed has led to the mutation of everything we might hold dear: our environment, our food, our earning power, even our sexuality.
As they themselves winkingly point out, referring to Agamemnon, with a nod to Elektra, this is an old story for a new century, of eloquent revolutionaries with pathetic personal credentials to lead their revolution.
Poor Dog Group and Bootleg Theater, 2220 Beverly Blvd., Westlake. Through March 29. Bootlegtheater.org.
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