super: anti: reluctant

Like an abstract expressionist painting -- open to interpretation

Local performance company Mugwumpin's press release proudly declares that they are interested in questioning the primacy of text and narrative in theater. With super: anti: reluctant they do that and more by chucking out any semblance of cohesive story line. The theme of this "ensemble-created assemblage" is that of "heroic archetypes and their sway over culture." I quote liberally from their press release because in creating this show involving (again to quote) "original and found music, text, gesture, and sheer freakishness," the results are befuddling and open to myriad interpretations. Five actors in black-and-gray business suits move frenetically and with the confusing tendency to speak over each other's dialogue. They mime putting on superhero outfits and they play out a succession of unrelated scenes: homesteaders wagoning West looking for a plot of land, a woman writing a Philip Marlowe novel, and frustrated customers in line at a Starbucks. It's like an abstract expressionist painting, with a lo-fi set made of butcher paper and packing tape and sound cues coming from a '70s cassette deck. The meaning and emotional impact is left to the individual viewer. The opinion of one audience member I overheard after the show was "brilliant," while I left feeling bewildered. Nathaniel Eaton


Through Dec. 15 at the Exit Stage Left, 156 Eddy (between Taylor and Mason), S.F. Tickets are $10-20; call 673-3847 or visit

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