nytheatre.com review by Case Aiken
August 17, 2010
I've seen a lot of shows that have attempted to use a projector screen or TV display in telling a story and most have failed. Tangled Yarn, which is playing at the 4th Street Theater in this year's FringeNYC, manages to do an excellent job integrating video with a generational story of mothers and daughters. Writer/performer Anais Alexandra Tekerian tells the tale of Ismene, the oft-ignored other sister from the Antigone plays, as a stand-in for her own experiences, while also taking the part of an Armenian grandmother and a Latvian grandmother, each with their own set of issues and struggles over the course of their lives. This performance is supplemented by projections of a live feed from the back of the theatre of director/artist Kevork Mourad painting imagery to set the stage. Laying out lines of paint and then smudging them into shape, he creates images of other characters, set pieces, and props. It's a fascinating pairing, though I at times had flashes to the classic cartoon, "Duck Amuck."
There's a little bit of art for the sake of art here, with the tale so personal and the telling so stylized, but it is never dull. The music complements the show wonderfully and Tekerian delivers an excellent performance, switching effectively between her three roles, but the show is stolen by the fantastic artwork by Mourad. I couldn't help but be fascinated with the speed he has as he crafts complicated imagery. Even more, his technique surprised me as he smeared lines into detailed textures. Such an effort is vulnerable to error each performance, so I was very impressed with the courage to do it live.While the show straddle the lines from a performance and performance art, it succeeds at being an excellent piece. The relation between the different female characters certainly resonates given how elegantly it's conveyed.