Wednesday, April 28, 2010

“Liminal”: A Theater Thesis Success

Attention anyone who has not yet seen “Liminal,” Pilar Castro Kiltz’s senior thesis production: you are missing out. Today, Wednesday, you have one last chance to get to the Matthews Acting Studio at 185 Nassau Street for this phenomenal, unique piece of theater.

If you’ve seen the posters for this production, you know that “Liminal” is somehow related to doorframes. If this is too vague for you, let me explain. In the beginning of the show, a voice from above gives the Wikipedia definition of liminality, “a state characterized by ambiguity, openness, and indeterminacy.” Kiltz uses this concept to illustrate the influential and transitory events that we all experience in one way or another as we grow up. Physically, Kiltz represents these transitions by having her actors walk through five colored doorframes at key points in the show. Warning: these moments, along with many others, are likely to give you chills.

In the production, Kiltz’s actors tackle a myriad of issues, from losing one’s belief in Santa Claus to teen suicide and manipulative relationships. A treatment of these matters has the potential to come across as hackneyed, but Kiltz presents her concept in a unique and incredibly compelling manner. As a work of tanztheater, “Liminal” makes use of many artistic media, with a transparent reference to reality. Here, genuine dance is intertwined with storytelling, and the actors often speak to the audience directly. They will let you in on everything, from moving out of a childhood home to experiencing the psychological repercussions of divorce. You must be willing to follow the actors, because you never know what type of narrative will be thrown your way. But if you trust them, you are in for an extraordinary journey.

A great part of what makes “Liminal” so successful is the fantastic cast that Kiltz assembled. The fifteen actors not only act, but also dance, play music, and sing – all at the highest level. They are dressed in black for the majority of the show, but each stands out in his or her own way. These costumes, as well as the minimalist set and distinctive lighting, are completely effective.

I think I’ve made this clear, but in sum, I truly was blown away by “Liminal.” It was one of the best productions I’ve seen at Princeton, and because of its short length – less than 1.5 hours – it is totally seeable on a weekday night. As I said, you have one last chance to make it to the theater. Go!

5 paws

Pros: Concept carried out in a unique and incredibly compelling manner, extremely talented cast

Cons: Only one more performance left!

“Liminal” closes today, Wednesday, April 28 at 8 p.m. in the Matthews Acting Studio at 185 Nassau Street.

- Meghan Todt ‘11

3 comments:

MyFlipCam said...
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Casey Ford Alexander said...

An extraordinary production! Pilar expertly makes the esoteric universal, deeply moving, and ultimately sibylline.

The production guides you into an tunnel of wild and ever-changing emotions and stories. Then, in a final, wordless scene releases you into a new state of mind. It's eerily honest and truly a revelation.

The last time I saw something as remarkable was Heart!!! by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins '06, a thesis production (by another Disiac member) who has gone on to notable success in New York theater.

Heart!!! Review: http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2006/03/16/14891/

Thomas said...

While most modern theatre companies rehearse one piece of theatre at a time, perform that piece for a set "run", retire the piece, and begin rehearsing a new show, repertory companies rehearse multiple shows at one time. These companies are able to perform these various pieces upon request and often perform works for years before retiring them.

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