New York

Ping Chong, “A Race”

La Mama Annex

Since the early ’70s Ping Chong has labored at a performance art/theater form built on the principle of bricolage. The term can even be said to describe Chong’s method homophonically: individual “bricks” of fragmented found texts, multimedia visuals, dancelike movement, and music are fitted together in a tightly mortared, sensory, theatrical collage. In the past, Chong’s version of this now ubiquitous performance approach featured striking sets and visuals, ravishing lighting, precisely stylized choreography, and an extremely flat, undynamic dramatic sense, mostly due to an overdose of chopped-up text and contextual ambiguity and to a deficiency of good old storytelling vigor. Like a lot of technologically accomplished mixed-media performance, Chong’s pieces seemed inert beneath the flashy stylistics of “visual” theater.

A Race rights this imbalance. It has a narrative momentum that’s clear,

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