FRINGENYC: Ground to Cloud

                                  MAN SHADOW
I wish I could figure out how to shadow light
this shadow lightbulb.


WOMAN SHADOW
I have a socket shadow.


MAN SHADOW
Can I shadow screw into it with my shadow
lightbulb?


WOMAN SHADOW
Shadow yes!


MAN SHADOW
Heh.  Heh heh heh heh heh...
The shadow lightbulb represents my shadow--

WOMAN SHADOW
I KNOW WHAT IT REPRESENTS.
SHADOW.

God damned Android phone froze lost my first review...

Reviewing an abstract performance piece like Ground to Cloud isn't simple, as works like these seem to center as much on what you bring into the space as what you find onstage.  On a surface level I enjoyed it very much, but on a deeper rung it seems to be missing something in its narrative.

Ground to Cloud is a shadow show, relying on monochomatic outlines created by actors and inanimate objects moving in front of strong diffused spotlights shining on a giant white sheet.  The audience sees a collection of beautiful images that convey a man looking for a power source for his lightbulb, the interaction between a woman and dreamlike giants, and other visuals set to the sounds of a played saw (which I unfortunately could see much better than I could hear) and various sound effects.  In me the early images evoked perfectly the all-too-real feeling of a blackout on the night of a storm, trying to blindly find your way towards any source of comforting light.  

The execution was fantastic, particularly halfway through the piece where the audience members were instructed to put on red and blue glasses for 5 minutes.  Let's talk about that: Using a simple and yet ridiculously effective setup--a red spotlight and blue spotlight placed right next to each other--shadow images were projected from slightly-left and slightly-right angles in order to convey a 3D shadow image.  The shadows created closer to the red and blue spotlights had a greater variation in angles, causing them to seem to pop out at you more than those shadows created further from the red and blue spotlights.  Amazing and beat the pants off of "Clash Of The Titans The Super $6.00 More 3D Experience", or so I'd presume.

My only complaint was the fuzzy story that was being conveyed; there was something in the beginning about the man searching for a power source for his lightbulb, and something at the end about the woman providing a socket to, uh, screw it into.  But in the middle there was a bit about flying a kite that gets struck with electricity and a woman who is being chased by giant monsters that she's suddenly bigger than, and a mother figure that she keeps encountering.  I could (and did) draw my own conclusions piece by piece but overall it was a bit muddled.  At 30 minutes it's not a problem, but I wanted the play to be the 45 minutes the program promised or even longer (I don't blame them for the mismatch in timing; trying to lock in Fringe's running time and allowing buffer before you've even cast is a challenge).  If they do expand Ground to Cloud--and I hope they do--I'd love to see it clarified and lengthened.

Ground To Cloud
http://www.fringenyc.org/basic_page.php?ltr=G
http://www.cimimarie.com/
VENUE #13: The New School for Drama Theatre
Thu 19 @ 7:30  Fri 20 @ 6  Sun 22 @ 4  Mon 23 @ 5:45  Thu 26 @ 8:30


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