Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Leo: Off-the-Wall Physical Comedy

[post 235]

If you combined the physical contortions of Janik & Arnaut (post 231) with the loony inventiveness of Brooklyn's own Rube Goldberg (post 230), the result might be Leo, the unique one-man show playing at the Harold Clurman Theatre in New York through Feb. 5th.

I am writing about it now in the hope that some of you locals will get to see it before it closes, but the reality is that I am too pressed for time at the moment to write a review that would do it justice. Indeed, there have been dozens of shows that have come and gone and not gotten a mention on this blogopedia for that very same reason. This is my attempt to  overcome that all-or-nothing mentality — and get some sleep tonight. So I'll be brief rather than lengthily pseudo-profound...

An award-winning solo show performed by Tobias Wegner and directed by Daniel Briere, Leo literally stretches the boundaries of physical comedy. Stage left is a room where Wegner performs silently, though with a soundtrack; stage right is a (near) simultaneous, life-sized video of his performance — except it's rotated 90 degrees. When Wegner walks on the floor, the video shows him walking up the wall, etc. This could easily become a dumb gimmick, but he is amazingly adept at making his movements look natural when rotated a quarter turn, and his physical vocabulary is impressive. The results are often magical. As the piece progresses, his world grows, first with hand-drawn objects (he sketches a chair and then sits in it) and then projected animation.

from the New Yorker
The show is little more than an hour, and the question obviously arises as to whether or not the bizzaro world he conjures adds up to much of anything — such as the price of admission. It's a fair question, and one I hardly have time to debate here. It certainly worked enough for me, and if you're reading a physical comedy blogopedia, I'm guessing you'll find it well worth your time just for the sheer creativity. So like I said, go see it!

Good news: half-price tickets have been available on TDF and thru Theatermania.

Here's some video for you:

• Click here for the Leo home page.
• A video interview with Tobias on Jim Moore's VaudeVisuals blog.
• A rave review from Total Theatre.
A mostly positive review from the NY Times
• A negative review from

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