new-york

Shut Up I Tell You (I Said Shut Up I Tell You)

P.S. 122

In an admittedly spotty theatrical season, the work of Elevator Repair Service, in a whirligig of sideshow-style shenanigans titled Shut up I Tell You (I Said Shut up I Tell You), 1996, stands out not only for its humor and intelligence, but also for its defiant theatricality—in fact, the performance was one of the most intriguing theatrical events I’ve experienced in quite some time. The troupe is fond of low-maintenance props (e.g., a medieval sentry “played” by a plastic skull attached to a broomstick, peering over a folding screen) and set pieces (e.g., tattered vinyl high chairs, carpet remnants with tape markings) that underline their artifice and, hence, theatricality. The two plots of the evening (part one is about castles and vampires, part two concerns—hang on—Freemasonry) are really just occasions for ludic display. Much of the ensemble’s manic energy goes into a seamless,

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