The Rogue Artists Ensemble has come up with yet another intriguing show, called Hyperbole Origins. I had enjoyed the production they conceived called Gogol Project where they took a series of Gogol’s stories and illustrated them through inventive storytelling using music, puppetry, and broad characterization. According to their mission statement, “The Rogue Artists Ensemble is a collective of multi-disciplinary artists who create Hyper-theatre, an innovative hybrid of theatre traditions, puppetry, mask work, dance, music, and modern technology.” Since many of the members are not bona-fide actors you can’t expect great acting in their shows but you can anticipate wild, imaginative, and creative happenings.
Hyperbole Origins is “an original celebration of myth, music, movement, and the connection between all of us.” The piece was developed through workshops, first at the University of California Irvine and then at the 1st Annual Hollywood Fringe Festival. the centermost conceit of the piece is a machine called the "Origin Machine" where the audience can experience the fantastic "Origin-torium." They use music contributed by Animal Collective, Josiah Wolf, The Very Best, Deerhoof, Oh No Ono, the Ditty Bops, and others.
What we get are basically a series of sketches where the origin of life, humanity, creation, and connectiveness are explored through this Machine out of which pour strange creatures, filmed sequences, lights, and sounds, all set off by a magic red button. Included in the cast are Kristopher Lee Bicknell, Julia Garcia Combs, Brian Kuwabara, Alex Levin, Shannon MacMillan, Diona Reasonover, and Thu Tran, with understudies Christina Aimerito and Gedaly Guberek.
Some of the sections fell flat but others were very beautiful, especially those involving myths of creation. After a while there was a certain sameness about some of the sections, but overall I found it creative and bold. It's not everyday you can see such imagination at work.
Hyperbole Origins plays at InsideThe Ford Theatre until Dec 12th. You can see examples of their work on their website and download music at the show's website where you can also learn about the artists who contributed.