Writer: Theater Reconstruction Ensemble
Director: John Kurzynowski
Reviewer: Jamie Rosler
When the cast is taking their final bows and literally no one in the audience is clapping, it is not a good sign.
Rhinbecca, the new production from Brooklyn’s Theater Reconstruction Ensemble, bills itself as “the intersection of suspense and the absurd,” and there is certainly a touch of the latter. Unfortunately, the former is a lot easier to want to create than it is to actually create. Rather than a production that honors its alleged inspirations—the works of Eugene Ionesco and Alfred Hitchcock—we are presented with a pointless and occasionally confusing trudge through sporadic references to these great artists of theatre and film.
Fusing cast and crew, production and reality, beginnings and endings, but without style, engagement or clarity, it seems to be absurd theatre for the sake of absurdity, but with none of the cultural commentary or artistic reasoning behind the choice.
There is clearly a plot in the production, and it’s likely that the members of Theater Reconstruction Ensemble had several conversations about the best way to shape the show and play with their intended themes, but those conversations did not translate to a successful theatrical production. There is a town, and a stranger comes into the town, but the mayor is missing, and finding him becomes everyone’s focus, even the stranger. There is no why, and the performances and presentational choices are not remarkable enough on their own to excuse the lack of any clearer explanations.
It’s surprising to see a costume designer listed in the program of this production. The cast all wears simple leggings, tanks, and similar, all of which seem to have come directly from the performers’ closets. More than that, they are supposed to seem like they came from the performers’ closets.
The indie theatre community in New York City provides an innumerable amount of options for an interested audience. If you’re looking for something small and exciting, keep looking.
Runs until19 March 2016 | Image: Contributed