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Flash Review 3, 1-22:
Soles and Soul
Lost and Found in Cuba
By Faith Pilger
Copyright 2001 Faith Pilger
Thaddeus Phillips will
be sharing his diversity, originality and tirelessness with New
York City for three more weeks in his solo visual object theater
rhythm tap gig, "Lost Soles," at La Ma Ma e.t.c. Mr. Phillips tells
an interesting story inspired in part by the life of one of his
teachers and mentors, Cuban tapper Jimmy Payne. While Mr. Phillips
is a ferocious tapper himself, he is a quieter, cooler actor and
in this show he takes his sweet time, luring the audience into his
world of oddball characters.
Last night as I settled
at a cocktail table at La Ma Ma e.t.c. (Experimental Theater Club)
I was slowly transported from N.Y.C. to Wyoming to Chicago and eventually
to Havana, Cuba. Perhaps on Sunday drinks are not served in this
theater club, but I think their aphrodesia would have been welcome.
It took a little bit of time to build momentum, but once we landed
in Cuba, the atmosphere had grown much warmer and the final scenes
were truly magical.
Thaddeus Phillips traveled
to Havana personally and shot some video which opens, closes and
weaves in, out and around the storyline. I think the video could
have been used more sparingly throughout, particularly since Mr.
Phillips was responsible for its remote control. In addition, he
took on the role of lighting technician, turning off and on the
lights as he disappeared/reappeared on the multi-surface stage (designed
by a guy named "Matt") -- a good idea, though difficult to execute
Speaking of which, the
set was apparently inspired by Cuban streets, lampposts and interiors,
which explains its funky (in the original sense) minimalism. The
most effective moments in the performance made use of original ideas
while utilizing the unique stage design: the waiter who can't help
but tap (his feet) on the plates and glasses (placed in front of
audience members closest to the stage) ... and my personal favorite
scene, involving a CIA agent video and fans suctioning documents
to the walls.
Thaddeus Phillips collaborates
with Tea Alagic and Pamela Riley to create this very original production
which will be running Thursdays through Saturdays at 10 p.m. and
Sundays at 5:30 p.m., through February 11. Mr. Phillips is also
an accomplished puppeteer, co-artistic director of Stateless, a
new theater company, and has been recognized for his role in Robert
Lepage's "The Geometry of Miracles."
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