Capsule Stage Reviews: Bright Lights, Big City, Present Laughter, Time of My Life, The Splasher, Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens
The Splasher In May of 2007, New York magazine reported that, “In the fall, some anonymous figure started vandalizing the city’s most celebrated vandalism.” The culprit was throwing house paint on some pretty fancy street art that would have gone for thousands had it hung in a gallery instead of being wheat-pasted onto a building. As it was, this “Splasher” was committing the crime of graffiti on what was, in actuality, graffiti. Troy Schulze’s brand-new work The Splasher from The Catastrophic Theatre explores the strange and layered rhetoric of the arguments on both sides of The Splasher situation. The Marxist arguments of the Splasher, who pasted his manifestos against street art with a glue containing “shards of glass,” considered his acts Marxist statements against a bourgeois elite — he argued that the street art was nothing more than free advertising for commodified art. Even worse, it signaled the impending gentrification of a neighborhood. The artists who get graffittied, including Shepard Fairey (played with gleeful haughtiness by Walt Zipprian), argue that they are just looking for the 21st-century patron. They don’t get supported by kings or the church; instead, it’s the bourgeois elite who feed today’s artists. Both sides are presented with humor and intelligence. Schulze sculpted his play from dialogue he wrote, layered with bits lifted from interviews and The Splasher’s “Manifesto.” Woven into all these fractured ideas is funky ’70s-TV-like video. Schulze himself is a bit like the Splasher – he corrupts the original to make a powerful, must-see, brand-new statement.