Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A.R.T. Presents The Intriguing "RoosevElvis" at the Oberon - An Imaginary Encounter Between Elvis and Teddy Roosevelt - Through May 29th


At the Oberon, the American Repertory Theatre is presenting a fascinating and phantasmagorical exploration of masculinity - and femininity - in a two person play entitled "RoosevElvis. This work, first developed at the Bushwick Starr in Brooklyn, is presented by The TEAM.  The concept is a bit convoluted and requires an adept audience to suspend disbelief and enter into the spirit of the "Thelma and Louise" type trip that two women take - in a car and in their minds.

Ann (Libby King) is a meat processing hourly wage earner in Rapid City, South Dakota.  Her dull and predictable existence is wearing her down so that when she drags herself home at the end of each day to grab a beer, she looks like she herself has been forced through a meat grinder.  To break up the quotidien monotony, she goes on-line and sets up a date with the recently divorced Brenda (Kristen Sieh).  Ann is not really able to sustain Brenda's interest, so much of the action occurs in Ann's imagination, with two icons of American masculinity vying for supremacy in her imagination.  Ms. King becomes "The King": Elvis.  And Ms. Sieh becomes Teddy Roosevelt, with speech patterns that both mimic and mock the Harvard grad who went on to charge up San Juan Hill and occupy the Bully Pulpit of the Presidency.  Teddy always pronounces Presley's name as "El-Veez"!

As the two pairs of characters - Ann and Brenda and Elvis and Teddy - go through a variety of adventures, various forms of masculine expression are explored, including the fisticuffs portrayed in the photo below.

Libby King as Elvis
Kristen Sieh as Teddy Roosevelt
"RoosevElvis"
A.R.T. - Oberon
Through May 29th
Photo by Helen Murray
As an audience, we are not always sure if we are seeing a dream being acted out in live action and in projections, or in the minds of the characters.  But we are never in doubt that we are in the presence of very creative non-linear minds. Both Ms. King and Ms. Sieh demonstrate tremendous versatility in mastering the physicality and vocal nuances of their respective characters. At the end of the day, we know that Ann has expended a great deal of energy in trying to figure out just what kind of a man - or woman - she wants to be.

Kristen Sieh as Teddy Roosevelt
"RoosevElvis"
A.R.T. - Oberon
Through May 29th
Photo by Sarah Lam

I was thoroughly entertained and challenged by this piece that is as much performance art as it is a linear play.  I think you will also enjoy this piece if you bring with you to the theater a playful spirit and a willingness to go with the flow and be challenged to think in new ways about familiar subjects.

"RoosevElvis" will run through May 29th at the Oberon.

American Repertory Theater Website

Enjoy!

Al

1 comment:

Jon Taie said...

Indie theatre needs space!

http://www.bostontheatrespace.com/index.html