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Told y’all my partner and I plotted separate Fringe agendas this weekend, no? So here’s his take on one of the shows he saw and I didn’t — a guest Hip Shot from Dr. H, who speaks from here on out:
Koun Kukki: The Legend of Hamachi and Unagi
Woolly Mammoth Mainstage
Monday, 7/23, 7 pm
They say: Allegedly WMD’s have been stolen! The Yabu clan is forced to hire two of the bravest Samurai to get them back! In this Bastardized non-westernized pop-modern tale that borrows from many traditional Japanese theatre conventions we see how a simple fortune cookie can help change the world.
Keith’s take: Even if you don’t get all of the nods to Japanese performance styles in this Kukki with a message inside, you won’t be able to help appreciating the elements that have been incorporated to create the “Kyogen-Kabuki-anime-pseudo-pop-play.” It’s always a joy to see actors who can move exceptionally well on stage. This might sound trivial, but the simple act of movement, while often taken for granted, is an art in itself. (Just ask a dancer….). And in Eastern cultures, where the lines between classical dance and theater are more blurred than in the West, actors’ ability to move becomes even more important.
Some of the performers in this troupe execute the stylized movement with greater alacrity than others, but the overall effect contributes to a Fringe event that feels more polished than most — down to the set changes. And all of this doesn’t even take into account the story, which as you may guess is yet another swipe at you-know-who. A play with WMD’s in the synopsis *without* an impression of W? Never fear, you’ll get to see him portrayed by two actors — and once by a life-sized puppet.
See it if: You would rather have sushi than “fries with that”.
Skip it if: You have no tolerance for other cultures messing with our good old Amurrican theater … or if you’d rather be watching TV anyway.