(The Garage, the unique SOMA venue that hosted the performance I struggled to describe.)
Writing about Dan Carbone's new solo show (which has closed) made me think that multimedia theater is among the hardest to write about in a review.
Father Panic! has live actors interacting with all of the following: other live actors, live projections of those other actors, projected dioramas, and even the guy who's holding the camera that's doing the live recording. Every time I try to describe this show, I have a hard time just getting across who's live on stage, who's recorded and who's both. I almost have to resort to a kind of technical, instruction-manual writing to even get close to painting an accurate picture.
I experienced similar difficulty in trying to describe Sticky Time, Crowded Fire's multimedia piece from this past fall.
Shows like this aren't going to go away, though; for better or for worse, they're probably only going to get more popular. And I won't be able to avoid describing these tricky mechanics, as they're often crucial to a show's essence, a vital component of the audience's experience of watching it.
So it's time for me to be on the lookout for reviews that deal with this language obstacle particularly well. Good writers borrow; great writers steal!