In the past two weeks, I have twice had the conversation I sometimes have with theater people, which is the conversation where you talk about the five theatrical experieces which affected you the most. So over the next few weeks, I'm going to chronicle them here, starting with the smallest.
In the spring of 1998, Clare Dolan, Meredith Holch and Susie Dennison created a show called "The Symptom," which was based on Checkov's "Three Sisters." It was performed at the now-drastically-different Los Kabayitos Puppet Theater in the CSV Community Center on the Lower East Side, then parented by Michael Romanyshyn. I hadn't been in New York for very long--a few months maybe--and here was this quiet, intimate show, so full of desire and feeling that surely would eclipse any standard "Three Sisters" performance.
Each sister was portrayed by a doll made of wood and fabric, and each actor was similarly dressed, so that as they spoke the lines of the play, they moved the puppet. The men in the play were played by lifesize dummies made of crumpled brown bags filling dusty suits. And what followed was a dreamy, setlist-kind of acts which showed the sisters in all their malaise-filled glory: staring into the snow, lamenting their lack of love, and in one ridiculously luminous scene, sobbing and sobbing and sobbing to the point of...dare I say, catharsis? Haven't we all struggled to find meaning? Isn't that struggle so narcissistic sometimes?
I spoke to Meredith Holch about the show recently, rather accosting her with my memories while we were talking about my Collection, among other things, and I'm not sure I was able to express to her what the show meant to me at the time. And now.