If you’ve seen some of the high energy shows Artistic Director Susan Feldman has brought to Brooklyn’s St. Ann’s Warehouse over the years, the moment you walk in to the new 29 Jay Street location and glimpse the set for MIES JULIE, the stunning production from the University of Capetown’s Baxter Theatre Centre now extended through December 16, you know you’re in for yet another wild ride.
Reminiscent of other fire breathing events of almost unbearable intensity that have come to this stealth space in DUMBO (Druid Ireland’s productions of THE WALWORTH FARCE and THE NEW ELECTRIC BALLROOM by Enda Walsh come to mind), the design is simple, yet worn and gritty. It is harsh. It is not safe. It’s definitely not kitchen sink naturalism – though there is a sink and we’re in the kitchen. Red is a recurring color. There are a lot of sharp, rusty tools leaning against walls: That doesn’t look good. Smoke wafts up toward a single rotating fan, and sustained single notes from a live saxophone signal the trance that will soon envelop you.
This simple, timeless show keeps the needle stuck at 11 on the emotional dial for an uninterrupted 90 minutes, and the effect is profound. Both the emotions and the bodies are naked. For this is a mythic theatre of images. What you see will stay with you for some time after the lights come up.
And that may not be a good thing.