Open up and say
The human race is being reduced to mere spectators, unwilling to participate in even the most rudimentary routines. Soon, we’ll even want machines to help us deal with our most basic bodily functions, according to Abandon Productions’ newest offering, AAH!
In AAH!, this performance-art troupe’s six-member cast wrestles with the evolution of human interaction, casting a critical and sometimes comical look at the progress we’ve made as a society. Along the way—through a unique blend of dance, movement, a cappella singing, acting and miming—Abandon Productions once again demonstrates why this performance group is so captivating.
Always up for a new challenge, artistic director Doniel Soto confines all of the action and movement in AAH! to between two A-frame construction scaffoldings. His performers loop, leap, slither and snake through the piping. It sounds claustrophobic, but it works in the most creative and surprising of ways.
The six performers are decked out in street survival gear—black T-shirts, camouflage pants and combat boots. No sissified dance outfits for this troupe; these performers are ready and eager to wage art.
In short scenarios, team members Mary Falconer, Doniella Maher, Michael McCleary, Samantha Ostermiller and David Rodrigues present us with their whimsical and wise take on societal woes. It’s theater as jazz—bebopping and improvising, sometimes in a linear way and other times riffing. Even when the concepts haven’t quite gelled or are way out on a limb, the performers’ sheer joy and enthusiasm have you rooting for them. The miracle is witnessing an experimental theater production that lacks pretension and cynicism.
This is Abandon’s eighth world premiere. It’s an impressive feat not only because of the amount of work involved in original creations but also because of the mere fact that the company has managed to survive this long in the challenging world of small, experimental theaters.
The theater is still housed in its cold, strangely endearing warehouse space next to the light-rail station. There are new seats stacked along the wall, just waiting to be installed. However, there’s still no plan for heat. Blankets will continue to be handed out at the door (a word of advice: take one), and bundling up beforehand is highly recommended.
AAH! is quick. You’re in by 8 p.m. and out by 9:10 p.m. Think of it as tapas rather than a full-course meal. But rest assured you’ll leave with something to chew on for the rest of the evening.