Sunday, June 21, 2009

Touch, Vestige Group at Hot Mama's Espresso, June 18 - July 3

The Vestige Group starts
Touch at 9 p.m., under a tall tree in a street-side courtyard by an empty coffee shop on east Sixth Street.

At night the neighborhood has a deceptive air of abandonment. Both the warehouse across the street and Hot Mama's Espresso sit within a tight triangle of railroad tracks near modest apartment buildings. Traffic is sporadic on Sixth Street, just behind the row of plywood partitions.

Touch is quiet but focused. Though there's a cast of four, this piece is principally a monologue by Andrew Varenhorst. He portrays Kyle, an already introspective man driven further inside himself by the loss of his Zoë, the wife whom he adored.

This staging is an eerie experience, as if the audience were posted somewhere deep within Kyle's head. He goes obsessively over their meeting, their life together, the blank catastrophe of her disappearance and his discovery of her six weeks later in the New Mexico desert.

"Zoë" or "Zoe" is Greek for "life." Kyle's relation makes clear that from the moment that she chose him in high school, the extravagant, attractive Zoë became his life, transforming his outcast existence, motivating him and animating him. We never see Zoë or directly hear her in this piece. That absence entirely shapes the narrative. Kyle's monologue is interrupted periodically by re-enactments, as if we were reliving with him other, non-Zoë episodes from his life.

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