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Defender Picks


Let Thy Fourth Wall Go!

by Tristan Bennett

"Port/Architect," the butoh-based production being put on by Skin Horse Theater as part of the New Orleans Fringe Festival, is an experience unto itself. Fair warning: this long, interpretive dance piece is not an easy one to decipher. That duty falls to the observer. But the experience of being a part of the show, wandering lost among the tenuous stacks of cardboard crates and the eerily lighting above and below is not to be missed.


Performers stacked themselves throughout the space. They were on boxes, squirming along the floor or simply strolling – and convulsing -- among the audience. Many of the actors are novices in butoh, and the troupe does not claim any canonical interpretation of the form. But they contort admirably, and express….something. The exact details were lost somewhere in the warehouse gloom.


Try to imagine a funhouse taken over by skinny kids in facepaint. Only instead of papier-mâché ghouls, it’s blank-eyed, critching, crawling performers. And the visions glimpsed, each moment different from the next, serve well to underscore the mission that Skin Horse has admirably taken on: to demand of their audience a new interaction. They want onlookers to shed passivity, and of their own free will push to the front of the crowd.


So either bring your platform shoes or a Mardi Gras ladder, because the crush can be tough at this one, and you’ll want to catch what’s going down on the corner of Port and Architect Streets tonight at 7 p.m.

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Renard Boissiere, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Naimonu James, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Nina Luckman, Dead Huey Long, Alexis Manrodt, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via, Austin Yde


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