DIVIDED WE FALL
nytheatre.com review by Christopher Moore
Divided We Fall by the SF
Buffoons is a rare effort which invests an old theatrical tradition with
rich new blood, and the uncompromising result is unsettling and
rewarding at the same time. With a style that evokes elements of Samuel
Beckett (Mars Wind’s endearing Chicken Wing seems like Lucky’s luckless
cousin from Waiting For Godot) and the political theatre of Dario
Fo, there is an enlightened twinkle behind the eyes of these moronic
devils. Eric Wilcox’s manic Idiot/papa appears to be the ring leader and
his monkeyboy (a demonic performer named Riddle) joins with the
offensive El Borracho (the craftily crude Noe Zavala) and Maria, a
nose-picking female who is able to produce money from her bottom (an
unpredictable performance by Nari Tommassetti) to complete the cast of
idiots who dance, fornicate, defecate, merry-make, and expostulate on
the state of the human condition.
August 15, 2003
As a creative ensemble, this group is entirely committed and aggressively comic. Their boldness has no limits. The relationship between the audience and the performers is at the core of this type of theatre. I had fake urine sprinkled at me (moments after it was sprinkled on a flag), I had fake feces tossed my way, I was insulted directly, I was smelled, I was offended, I wanted to leave, and yet I was unexpectedly moved by a message both political and emotional. Moments of grotesque humor give way to moments of genuine pathos, and then suddenly I felt awful for feeling anything at all. At times, the buffoons sit in the audience, and serve as a literal reminder that we are all buffoons in the end. The content is mature and juvenile at the same time. The games end in violence, the violence ends in laughter, the references are immediate and topical, and the entire piece is offensive and disturbing, but you will laugh in spite of yourself. The language is harsh, the humor is crude, the performers are relentless in taking the audience to the edge of bad taste, and then are not shy about taking us over the edge several times. The cast plays on expectations, titillates and aggravates, woos us and then shuns us a moment later.
The ghoulishly haunting score by Andrew Cushin and Scott Jacobson recalls medieval pageantry, as do the costumes of the buffoons themselves, but make no mistake, these are buffoons for our times. This is an exciting and boldly pure fringe performance.