Tom Sellar has penned an article about the state of the avant garde/experimental/progressive theater in the Village Voice that features Big Art Group and one of the best progressive performance companies.
Many of New York’s edgier ensembles have been drawing on non-dramatic source material (i.e., no plays) and creating work that mirrors other media forms—two impulses historically embraced by modernist avant-gardes, of course, but sometimes yielding original results today. Big Art Group, for instance, makes a touchstone out of synthesizing media elements. SOS, their 2009 show at the Kitchen, offered a spiraling series of hallucinations of consumer catastrophe—simultaneously humorous and apocalyptic. Scenes alternated between terrified animals fending for themselves in the Darwinian wilderness, and grotesque chats between urban creatures of consumption. The group used live projections, computer graphics, and a dense soundtrack to create an overstimulated (but deliberately oppressive) mediascape, which was somehow charmingly homemade.
SOS points to a category of experiment under way in alternative theater, which might be described as Internet dramaturgy: live performances structured around nonlinear associations, a continual or escalating series of non sequiturs, or constantly regenerated narrative frames. These dramatic forms echo our now-daily experiences of clicking through multiple sites and toggling between realities. Stage compositions increasingly reflect structures and patterns from the Web, a development ripe with potential.
… But in the next era—now under way—there’s an appetite and opportunity for enlarging the theatrical experience in New York. If anyone can seize the day, it may be Big Art Group, Nature Theater, and anyone else with the intellectual muscle to build up the vanguard.
Read the full article at VillageVoice.com