In her brilliant new evening-length piece, rising star Faye Driscoll sets the bar high, daring both cast and audience to reach it — and they do, with spectacular results. Brooklyn-based choreographer wunderkind Driscoll, who has gained raves for such productions as 837 VENICE BLVD. and WOW, MOM, WOW, premiered her Dance Theater Workshop commission There is so much mad in me this week, a challenging, exhilarating show that never lets up. Driscoll’s latest makes full use of the DTW space as characters march up and down the aisles, take seats in the house, climb side poles, and run between the light stanchions. Filled with uncomfortable humor, raw aggression, and an innate charm, There is so much mad in me examines Americans’ need to see and be seen in today’s overstimulated world, desperate to make emotional and physical connections amid heart-wrenching loneliness.
Driscoll demands much from her supremely talented cast, creating unusual, often spastic movements and long patches of dramatic dialogue that include scenes that place them on in-your-face talk shows and reality programs (think Oprah meets Jerry meets Tyra meets AMERICAN IDOL). An early duet between Nikki Zialcita and Michael Helland, two of the stars of 837 VENICE BLVD., announces that There is so much mad in me is going to be a very different kind of dance theater, and that continues with a gorgeous section in which Jesse Zaritt and Tony Orrico battle it out over Lindsay Clark, representing the private individual not sure how much she is willing to reveal in this ever-more-public society. When Adaku Utah grabs the microphone, she offers material gifts, and Jennie MaryTai Lau serves up lurid voyeurism, but Jacob Slominski deals out rage and fear. Making sophisticated sociocultural observations that comment on sexuality and violence, Driscoll never takes the easy way out, resulting in a fresh, original, touching, and powerfully direct experience.