The 7-Person Chair Pyramid High Wire Act Tightrope-Walks Over Richmond This Sunday

by | May 28, 2013 | ART

Touring DIY theater project The 7 Person Chair Pyramid High Wire Act is headed to Richmond. The show is the brainchild of Donna Oblongata, who, along with Patrick Costello, makes up Der Vorführeffekt Theatre (the name is a German idiom meaning “it works except when someone is watching”). Oblongata and Costello are the only two actors involved in the entire performance; they also designed and assembled all the sets used in the play.

Touring DIY theater project The 7 Person Chair Pyramid High Wire Act is headed to Richmond. The show is the brainchild of Donna Oblongata, who, along with Patrick Costello, makes up Der Vorführeffekt Theatre (the name is a German idiom meaning “it works except when someone is watching”). Oblongata and Costello are the only two actors involved in the entire performance; they also designed and assembled all the sets used in the play. In an interview with Flint Public Art Project, Oblongata said, “This play is an exercise in how ambitious and imaginative we can be in a short period of time, with very few resources and very little space.”

Reading the short plot description provided on their website, it sounds like Oblongata dropped acid and decided to read The Origin of Species while watching Finding Bigfoot and a TLC documentary about the Flying Wallendas. Briefly: Charles Darwin is in Siberia searching for the Yeti. The Yeti is attempting to win a radio station dance contest. A bat traveling with Darwin is falling in love with the magnetic emissions of the radio station. And meanwhile, in the caves of Siberia, a tribe of ropemakers attempts to keep their art alive and their family together. This show has potential to be a genuinely artistic, clever, and feral display of thespian talent. How two people pull this entire thing off is something that must be seen to be believed.

In the introduction of her thesis paper, “Teaching Shadow Puppetry: DIY Theathre Overseas,” Oblongata talks about the influence she drew from the punk scene and other DIY movements. She writes, “These movements have always challenged the idea of an ‘arts establishment,’ or the need for a legitimate institution in which to create live performance.” This influence is clearly connected to Der Vorfuhreffekt Theatre’s DIY aesthetic. Currently in the middle of a fast paced East Coast tour, the duo are taking their talents through 29 cities in just over a month, which requires them to reconstruct their elaborate sets each night just before putting on a full-length production. They then disassemble their sets, travel to the next town, and do it all over again. With this punk rock production mentality, combined with an abstract but compelling storyline, this theatrical performance has potential to be a captivating piece.

The 7-Person Chair Pyramid High Wire Act will be in Richmond for one night only, Sunday June 2 at The Black Iris Gallery (located at 321 W. Broad St). Doors open at 7 PM, with the performance beginning promptly at 8 PM. There is a suggested donation of $7, but no one will be turned away. For more info, check out the facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/143214249198696/

Marilyn Drew Necci

Marilyn Drew Necci

GayRVA editor-in-chief, RVA Magazine editor for print and web. Anxiety expert, proud trans woman, happily married.




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