With Music by Ellen Maddon
Directed by Bonnie Metzgar with Eric Hoff
Produced by Red Tape Theatre
At Steppenwolf Garage Rep Series
Wildly poor taste rules in manic performance piece disguised as a play.
Taylor Mac, himself a fringe actor/playwright, has organized a wild manic performance art piece featuring a dozen weird group of agit-prop radicals and counter-culture anti-political correctness advocates who act like they’re tripping on LSD as 1992’s version of the 60’s hippies (think the musical Hair). This mess is incoherent, muddled, and unfocused as it wonders onward for over two hours.
The Walk Across America for MOTHER EARTH is a walking journey of a dozen transgendered fringe anarchists peopled by lesbians and gay men, including an assortment of sub, sub, sub-cultured radicals as they walk, march, sunder, and swish across the USA toward a nuclear test site in Nevada.
The show is full of strange circular movements, hyper-disco music and dances, and maddening scenes filled with personal confessionals, weird dreams, and a group of totally disgusting characters. Rants, sensual movements, and self-aware sexual references dominate. Screaming, unpredictable events, and bizarre encounters ramble on as the journey, not the destination, makes up the guts of the show.
As I suffered through this terrible, pointless show, I kept wondering why a theatre company would mount such a show? It shows off an extremely small (if at all) fringe sub-group of gay and transgendered young people. They look and dress strangely, they act in total anti-social anarchists mode. Does a group like that actually exist and would they have the commitment to spend months walking across the USA for any cause?
As a theatre piece, The Walk Across America for MOTHER EARTH unfolds as a repetitive, meandering dance-infused mess that irritates with it’s in-you-face camp and sick antics. No one can act here, nor sing, nor dance but they all can look wacky and act like 60’s throwback hippies. There is no one to like here as each have enough foibles and psycho-sexual hang-ups to keep a carload of psychiatrists working for years!
I found that the show appeals to those transgendered souls and want-to-be’s . But the silliness, raw attempts at humor, and movement offered little in theatricality to make this show stage worthy. It seems that the cast had a ball in acting weird on stage. Too bad they didn’t tell us a story. This show needs more than wild costumes and facial painting to be worthy of an audience. I’d skip this one.
Talk theatre in Chicago podcast
Date Reviewed: March 8, 2015
As part of the Steppenwolf Theatre’s Garage Rep Series.www.steppenwolf.org for days and times
In repertory with Angry Fags and Heat Wave, for move info, see The Walk Across America for MOTHER EARTH page at theatreinchicago.com ,