The Wooster Group
thru Saturday, Sept. 18, 4:30-8:30pm
Burnish Hall, Portland Center for the Performing Arts
posted by: dirtybombpdx
Billed as an interactive 360 degree war film, the Wooster Group brings to Portland’s TBA fest an exhilarating distillation of their unique theatrical imperative. Digitally video’d by 12 cameras and projected in-the-round by 6, the narrative is controlled by whoever sits in the center seat. As the “driver” spins in the “control chair”, the narrative (such as it is) plays out wherever he/she chooses to face. A grouping, around the center chair, of stools that also spin 360, allows the audience to follow the action (or not – several muted narratives and blurred images play on the rest of the 360 degree screen even as the “driver’s” vision is highlighted). There’s something for everyone, from porn to melodrama to Monty Python-esque comedy. It’s all ostensibly about or against war, but it doesn’t really matter what it’s about. It’s so odd and fun and uniquely engaging that the subject matter is almost beside the point. And, as a bonus, you get a lesson in social psychology. Watching what the “driver” chooses to view is at once irritating and fascinating (especially the speed at which the porn gets passed over). On more than one occasion I wanted to knock the “driver” from his perch and spin in the chair as fast as possible…but I didn’t (hmm).