new-york

Richard Foreman

Ontological Theater, St. Mark’s Church

While it would be sheer folly to try to synopsize Richard Foreman’s latest dramatic effort, one might offer—as one character terms it—an “obvious gloss.” In I’ve Got the Shakes, 1995, the author/director continues to stage pure perception, placing cognition itself onstage. Foreman loves ideas unabashedly, reads theory voraciously, and has no qualms about using the theater as a laboratory for his mental somersaults.

I’ve Got the Shakes centers on the doleful, self-sabotaging Madeleine X (superbly played by Jan Leslie Harding). While Foreman’s scenic semiotics have remained fairly consistent in his last few offerings (checkered strings bisecting the playing area, flashes of bright light, floors littered with legal pads), as have the aural (tape loops of demented skating-rink music, punctuated by buzzers and bells), his central characters seem to be becoming more unhinged. One senses that

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