Nomadic Tempest 2017 by the Caravan Stage Company

An operatic 90 minute show performed behind a gigantic scrim draped off the 100 foot tall sailing ship, the ‘Amara Zee’, with multimedia interface between video, sound and trapeze acrobats. The projected video intercepts featured a wise woman/fairy godmother extoling the evils of fossil fuels responsible for the human extinction to an audience of wide-eyed pre-teens. A philosophical smorgasbord, somewhere between Cahil Gibran and Mad Max, interwoven with Greek and Coast Salish Mythology, repeated over and over in Spanish, Arabic and Mandarin with cryptic English subtitles. Clever use of the ship’s masts and rigging, illuminated and professionally. A permanently oscillating pumpjack kept bobbing up and down at top left of the rig while two gas jockeys brandishing nozzles like guns were dancing at center top, while backlit dancers gyrated to the music at deck level. All of which made for good visuals. But the whole spectacle lacked in story and was basically a naïve, hippyish construct of mankind’s fossil fuel addiction making us all fossil slaves and junkies and thereby destroying life on earth. What the play lacked in plot and linear story, it compensated with mesmerizing acrobatic performers repelling from 100’ long red flags, a phantasmagorical set, talented singers and an overall spectacle for the senses. The frequent and repetitive video projections were a preachy play on guilt and our fossil fuel dependence, eulogizing the demise of mankind, and extolling the rise of a fossil free peace loving future through the awestruck eyes and faces of the young teens. An apocalyptic vision survived only by a lone orca and some monarch butterflies. If anything survives this Armageddon it would be cockroaches and sharks, nowhere near as picturesque. I squirmed a few times but it might have been the cool breeze coming off the water and I had to stifle a yawn or two but it might have been the late hour. A couple of young kids behind us kept asking their parents: ‘”is it over soon Dad?” a sentiment I shared with them.

 

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