Thursday, November 20, 2014

FROGZ—Imago Theatre—SE Portland

Imago, An Evolutionary Experience

This production has been touring world-wide since 1986 and the company has been around since 1979.  Although they have done many varied and innovative productions since then, FROGZ is definitely their signature piece.  It once again plays at their space at 17 SE 8th Ave. from December 12th through January 4th.  For more information, contact their site at or call 503-231-9581.

FROGZ is truly an amazing journey…through time, space, the outward trappings of mankind, the inner workings of the psyche and all or none of the above.  It is for you to decide.  But nobody will leave the production untouched by the…Happenings onstage.  It is a fun, thought-provoking, soul-searching Event that should not be missed.  The only thing I could compare it to would be Disney’s, Fantasia.

This show, as mentioned, has toured the U.S. extensively, as well as European countries.  It has played on Broadway twice and several television productions world-wide.  It can be enjoyed by children and adults alike, as well as appreciated by different cultures, as there is no language barrier, since it’s without words.  I saw the Swiss troupe, Mummerschatz, a number of years ago and they did a series of wordless, nonsensical skits and, from there on, I began to appreciate wordless communication.

The creators, designers and directors of this piece are the founders of the company, Carol Triffle & Jerry Mouawad.  Their methodology for theatre experiments stems from the teachings of Jacques Lecoq.  It is no surprise then that they found a family in the avant-garde playwrights, as well, such as Pinter, Beckett, Sartre et. al.  I, too, am of fan of these artists and have reviewed Imago’s productions of Pinter’s, The Lover, The Caretaker and The Homecoming and been enthralled by every one of them.  (Read my reviews, over the last two years of their shows, elsewhere in this blog).

Imago has won countless theatre awards for design, choreography, acting, production, script, et al.  The word Imago literally means an insect emerging or maturing into its adult stage.  And so, perhaps, is their view of Life and/or Art…a progression or evolution that is constantly changing, moving forward into uncharted territory…a journey that is to be nurtured toward an unknown destination.  FROGZ certainly gives that impression.

Note that the journey, via FROGZ, includes reptilian creatures, sloths, fish, and penguins, as well as the seemingly more mundane objects in our arsenal of clutter, such as boxes, sacks, strings and paper.  There is always the sense of discovery but one may not be sure of the discovery of, what.  Even though the mind may be buzzing after such an exhibition, there may also be a curious smile that crosses one’s face.  A smile because, perhaps, for one brief, shining moment you have been transported out of the Usual into the Unusual.

An Understanding of something, just on the tip of your tongue, that is still unformed, then slowly dissolves into thin air.  Such are the stuff of dreams and imagination and, often times, theatre.  But it is a strangely comforting feeling to know that a production can stretch an individual into uncharted waters, eddy around into those mysterious depths, and deliver one again onto the safe shores of the ordinary but, perhaps, with a heightened awareness of the possibilities of the world without and within.

Feel free to read my review of last year’s production, as I highly recommend it, and any of their future productions.  They are Masters in what they do and it shows in their products.  If you do go to see them, please tell them Dennis sent you.

Below are some connections to them that you might want to explore.

On this page you can read about the show and see video

And my review from last year’s production of FROGZ:

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