Writer: John Fleck
Director: Randee Trabitz
Reviewer: Adrienne Sowers
Performance artist and actor of NEA Four fame, John Fleck, brings his solo show to Dixon Place from Los Angeles. Blacktop Highway brings the gothic American horror film to the stage with a John Waters-inspired edge. The grotesque and surreal drive the action of this compelling experience. Calling itself out for being simulacrum, the play reflects back onto itself, blurring the line between reality and performance.
Utilizing recorded footage, live camera projections, and creative costuming, Fleck portrays each character in the action of the piece. Singing beautiful operatic soprano, creatively manipulating puppets created by Christine Papalexis, embodying several animals, and acting against himself, Fleck builds a world in which he is the film. The timing is spot-on perfect, the writing is clean and driven, and the how of what is happening resonates in equal balance with the what.
Fleck‘s brilliance as a performance artist shines in Blacktop Highway, largely due to the aesthetic between complex performance theory and high camp. The audience is complicit in the story, and the lens of critique is turned on the viewer as much as the performer. Through the laughter, the intrigue, and the eeriness, the sense of community and collaboration rings through. The experience is a communal one, and the audience bonds through the grotesque humor onstage. Though based on horror concepts, Blacktop Highway delivers more thrills than chills.
Runs until 19 November 2016