Movement by Monstah Black; Directed by Monstah Black and Ashley Brockington
Part of Dixon Place's HOT! 2016 Festival
Off Off Broadway, Multi-disciplinary dance theater
Runs through 7.23.16
Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie Street
by Keith Paul Medelis on 7.15.16
Company of Hyperbolic! (the last spectacle). Photo by Peter Yesley.
BOTTOM LINE: Monstah Black's successful headliner of Dixon Place's HOT! Festival 2016.
“Looking good for the destruction” feels bizarrely hopeful. It’s this absurd idea that lies at the core of Monstah Black’s Hyperbolic! (the last spectacle) appearing in the HOT! Festival at Dixon Place. Absurdism in the classical definition seems the best category for this hard to pin down piece as we explore the necessity for beauty amongst tragedy. Its hope comes from the idea that celebration is possible in all things, for better or worse. We’re at the end of the world it seems. Though here it’s a party with cocktails of course. No one seems in a rush, preparing for the end. Every movement is precisely choreographed to take even more time than necessary—lingering, repeating, stopping, starting.
I wouldn’t get too wrapped up in the story of Hyperbolic! The reason to see it is for the decorations. The costumes by Black are beautiful and bizarre. The scenery, by U.F.O. (unidentified flying objects), is inventive and invasive. And the music by Black and The Illustrious Blacks is pervasive, occasionally giving way to a funky/rap song. The cast is remarkably gorgeous, all chiseled bodies and tremendously skilled. Their commitment to a difficult and otherwise intimidating spectacle carries us along for a wild, satisfying ride.
It seems there’s not much here without the fingerprints of artist Black on them. Ashley Brockington joins him for the collaborative theatrical direction on the play. Black is an artist I was previously unfamiliar with and I suspect he craves a bit of downtown elusiveness. Hyperbolic! (the last spectacle) is an exciting mantelpiece of Dixon Place’s annual HOT! Festival featuring this and much more queer work. It’s a festival worth checking out for the grab bag that will ensue.
(Hyperbolic! (the last spectacle) is presented at Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie St. through July 23, 2016. Performances are July 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23 at 7:30. Tickets are $19-$22. More information can be found online at dixonplace.org and by calling 212.219.0736.)
Hyperbolic! (the last spectacle) is written by Reginald Ellis Crump with lyrics by Crump and Derek D. Gentry. The conceptual design, movement generation, and costumes are by Monstah Black. Collaborative theatrical directing and video is by Monstah Black and Ashley Brockington. Musical production by Monstah Black and The Illustrious Blacks. Musical consultant is Manchildblack. The set is by U.F.O. (unidentified flying objects).
The cast features Monstah Black, Joey Cuellar, Alicia Dellimore, Shiloh Hodges, Marilyn Louis, Johnnie “Cruise” Mercer, Benedict Nguyen, and Yuko “Uko Snowbunny” Tanaka.