The following are reviews
of comatheatre events:
Re: Fwd: ComaTheatre CD
Put this on tonight
By Chraig Schropshire
"...I put this on tonight, and was trying to proceed with all the many things i have to do, but I couldn't pull myself away. It's frighteningly good! So I just sat there, attentively listening, absorbing it all, for the full eighteen minutes. I especially loved the sequenced synths in the beginning interlocking with all those pad sounds. Fantastic! Oh, and tell Chad he's elevated those lowly pads to an art form. I'm sure I'll have more input once I delve further, but suffice it to say it was excellent throughout. Thanks!
comatheatre - Altered States of Unreality
as seen in The WORD:
Reviewed by Tim Cloward
A coma is the ultimate form of altered state. From the Greek koma [a deep prolonged unconsciousness], it is the most intense and dangerfraught form of psychological submersion. It is the greatest betwixt and between, the longest dream. It is common now to speak of the arts, music and theater in particular, as also a type of psychological submersiona type of descent into a communal liminal state where the culture plays out its unconscious conflicts.
EnterMind, the weekly performance series presented by comatheatre, takes this connection between performance and psychological submersion as its main premise and principle of operation. In the course of their premier performance, the troupe created a rigorous evocation of the dreamstate.
Using fluid transformations made possible by the constant intermingling of media, the group built up an environment full of surrealistic juxtapositions and realtime serendipities.
From the beginning of the first Entermind show, the amorphous form of the coma made itself evident. The spectacle unrolled itself in a slow ritualized time that was somewhat akin to the sensation of gradually falling asleep. After leaving the audience for some time with multiple largescreen video projections (including realtime monitoring of the MAC box office and coffee bar) and the intermingling of various images from oddangled slide projections and TV monitors, there was the subtle introduction of an ambient electronic soundscape. As two Wizardof Ozlike technicians twisted knobs in the shadows, troupe member Chad Evans fumbled towards the stage in a contortionistic saunter. A few moments later, the masked dancer, Amy Seltzer, wandered in through the audience and added her voice to the developing commotion.
From there, playing without pause, comatheatre presented a consistently liquid and rigorously dreamy amalgamation of image and audio. Finally, after two hours, troupe leader Kim Corbet stumbled over his exhausted troupe mates who were strewn prone and comatose across the stage, mumbling "How do you shut this thing off?" By then, there was the feeling that the layers of projections, the various gestures and verbal gymnastics of the players, and the looping, selfreplicating electronic fuzz from the sound system had grown into a presence in its own right, something beyond four individual performers.
As befits its pedigree, comatheatre's manner of presentation was fluid and seamless. The nominal successors of the noted new music ensemble BL Lacerta, comatheatre continues that ensemble's honored tradition of combining rigorous concentration with a playful, Cageian sense of improvisation. Realizing that the easiest way to shape an environment is with sound, the troupe's primary emphasis is aural, and they have mastered an impressive range of musical idioms, moving in and out of each without getting stuck in a predictable groove.
The general comatheatre tactic of mixing things up made for a number of memorable moments. After lurking in the recesses between equipment most of the night, Kim Corbet emerged to perform a couple of truly impressive trombone solos and, later, provided a hilarious running dialogue over the video projection of Victor Hugo's character Quasimodo. After spending the evening inconspicuously providing a comaevoking array of percussion and subtle rhythms, Chad Evans suddenly burst forth with a savage, Kabukilike spree of vocal gibberish. At one point, Bruce Richardson, who showed himself to best advantage with his deft atmospheric embellishments and percussive accents, joined with Corbet in a moody melodeon duet. Occasionally Amy Seltzer, who spent much of her time wondering among the audience, returned to the stage and inserted herself into the beam of the video projectorjoining her body, her projected shadow, and the obscured image in a multilayered dance.
The MAC, an institution that has been more than willing to mix it up in the past, is offering the current Entermind series in its lobby every Saturday at ten o'clock throughout the summer. From all initial indications, it should be a fortuitous match. The combination of media and consciousness that is comatheatre cannot help but benefit from a healthy, symbiotic relationship with Dallas's most forward looking gallery space. The first show brought a full house and an audience that was uniformly rapt for the length of the performance. With its demands for utter concentration and its subtle blurring of the distinctions between art and life, the premier performance of comatheatre had the sense of a Zen rave.
Tim Cloward is a Dallas poet, writer and performer.
The Lorca Project is a union of experimentalists
By Matt Weitz - Dallas Observer
"In the past, shows by avant-garde performance group ComaTheatre, could approach a delightful stimulus overload as musicians played tape loops, sequencers, actual instruments, and prepared tracks while a series of images -- clips from movies and newsreels, paintings on a slowly advancing roll of transparent film, and still photos -- flashed about them and the dancers who dart through the audience.
Now they've gone one step further with 'The Lorca Project,' an experimental performance production that 'adds literature and theater design to their expressive blend. Based on the fiery, imagistic work of Spanish painter, playwright, and poet Federico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936), the show will be 'multi-media, wtih some interesting twists.' says ComaTheatre member and local musician Kim Corbet.
Members of ComaTheatre have long been inspired by the magical imagery and challenging nature of Lorca's work -- which often pushed the boundaries of what was considered art -- and will be basing the pieces that make up 'The Lorca Project' on specific poems and plays that he wrote. The group will also be imposing a bit more structure on their usually freewheeling shows.
'We want to keep that sense of circus-like cafe at The MAC,' Corbet explains, 'but this is also going to be serious theater. By showtime we will have put in three weeks of intensive practice, and we even have directors.'
Indeed, the introduction of the Undermain Theater's Raphael Parry and the Kitchen Dog Theater's Tina Parker may help tone up ComaTheatre's presentation... 'We'll act out those portions of Lorca that the directors choose onstage,' Corbet elaborates. 'And in support of that, we'll have our multi-media production, but with some interesting differences: we'll be using music pre-recorded for an upcoming album, with the musicians sitting at [computer] workstations rather than instruments. We've also recorded various things on different CDs, and the artists will have CD players that they can drop these into and start and stop them according to what's going on.'
The ComaCrew includes Corbet and fellow musicians Chad Evans (who also dances and designs sets) and Bruce Richardson (who also composes for the group). Michele Manly choreographs and dances with Amy Seltzer, whose videotapes may well be shown by projection artist David Darnell, working alongside lighting designer, Deb Reitman.
'One of the things that we're going to do is assault the audience with this incredible light show, just blind them to the point of submission. It'll be more surreal than usual,' Corbet says."
Lights, action, music push dialogue to one side - 'Lorca Project' minces words in play about poet
as seen in The Dallas Morning News:
Reviewed by Lawson Taitte, Theater Critic
Comatheatre, dedicated to reaching the unconscious, runs the risk of jokes: " If this is what it feels like to be in a coma, just shoot me."
Actually, the show that ComaTheatre opened Friday at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, The Lorca Project, managed to be both brilliant and the longest 70 minutes anybody ever spent.
Visually and musically, it's often stunning. The set pieces sculptured out of styrofoam, the lighting and the projections, the beautifully textured videos are 100 times more interesting than the exhibition next door in the MAC's art gallery.
The musical improvisation, mostly drum and electronics, derives from one of North Texas' unique artistic traditions. The Denton-based group B.L. Lacerta pioneered this kind of music more than 15 years ago. With a comparably strong visual accompaniment, it becomes all the more hypnotic.
Somewhere in the midst of all this, though, some theater is going on. The events are supposedly inspired by the great Spanish poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca. But the few times some of the poet's words actually got spoken they were lost among the musicians' whoops and howls.
A few incidents were memorable, nonetheless. An incense-burning robot stole the show - even Sojourner isn't nearly this cute.
People sensitive to theatrical design will enjoy even the slowest parts. ComaTheare does reach deep parts of the psyche, and it's fascinating to imagine how all this talent might serve an actual theater piece.
I'd love to see a ComaTheatre King Lear - if they'd turn down the volume and let us hear it.