Immediate Medium and the Collapsable Hole presents “Steve of Tomorrow” – an imaginative blast of satirical brilliance using technology and toys. Three supreme artists join forces with a basement to taser your senses back into the present tense. It’s a performance of such playfulness and skill, you feel like your Barbie doll gave you a Pulitzer Prize-winning discourse on human fallibility. It’s euphoria inducing.
. . .It’s loud and full and phenomenal.
You enter the cavernous, glorious space with its high ceilings, staircases, and exposed beams to take your seat in “Puff the Magic Dragon’s” lair. You can feel the residue of all of the resident artists that call this space home. The creativity lingers, holding the audience in the interstitial space of all possibility.
We meet Scott, who is having a problem with technology – the car won’t start and the microwave is short-circuiting. His partner Ralph, a sci-fi blogger, is dealing with a persistent troll on his comments feed and ends up inviting any time travelers in the vicinity to feel free to stay on their couch. Steve, a time traveler, takes them up on the offer.
In the meantime, a corporate company has generated a hurricane – because we all so desperately need one. Hurricane preparations and parties are on the go with the “News Market” media giving us every banal update coated in sensationalist soundbites. It begs the question, “What are we taking with us into the future?”
The story unfolds across multiple screen surfaces. You are in the eye of the storm as worlds are revealed with the use of green screens and live toy stop-motion style animation brilliance. Action figures are imbued with life by the exceptional vocal characterizations of David Commander, Lisa Clair, and Rob Ramirez. The screen-faced puppets are expertly handled by Commander and Clair, who shoot around the performance area, jumping in and out of moments with the dexterity of flying fish. It’s riveting. The inanimate speaks eloquently.
This explosion of artistry was birthed by David Commander and Rob Ramirez, who are grappling with the current dis-ease and anxiety of the political climate. They are not afraid to contemplate the bleak, the facile, and the preposterous elements of our “civilization.” Commander wrote and directed this exquisite experience. He takes us on a transformational skyrocket of story at a racehorse speed around a digital track.
As performers, Commander and Clair serve the story with intense focus and an extraordinary output of high voltage energy. They perform with the technology that “acts” as a conduit for creating “connection.” They are hooked up to it, wielding it and wearing it. It feels like they are “plugged” into an energy source and are being “moved” by the tech current. Ramirez is the performer sitting on the outside, manipulating the bigger picture by wrestling the technology in the piece and adding in the “outside” characters.
The trio are working on different levels to bring all of the wires into one socket. All three are marksmen shooting the apple off our heads to wake us up. Takaaki Ando’s lighting design bounces off the basement walls like a Picasso-fueled poltergeist matching the brushstrokes of this whirly gig wonderland inspired by the creators.
It’s loud and full and phenomenal.
Running Time: 50 minutes, no intermission.
“Steve of Tomorrow” plays through April 1, 2017 at the Collapsable Hole. For more information and tickets, click here.