at the Jungle Theater through March 8
Fixations tend to get a bad rap, although one could argue that little art would ever be created without the obsessions of a certain segment of the population. Terry Johnson's Hitchcock Blonde, though, doubles down on the bet: fixation as both the wellspring of creativity and the source of bad behavior. Three plots run parallel in this twisty, complicated thing. There's liberal arts prof Alex (J.C. Cutler), who schemes to take his student Nicola (Heidi Bakke) to his Greek villa to exhume some frames from rotted film canisters that contain a lost early work of Alfred Hitchcock (if this sounds like a complicated way to spark an affair with her, that's because it is). Then we flash back in time to old droopy jowls himself (Tom Sherohman, deadpan droll), who is first seen coaching the body double (Mikki Daniels, billed as "The Blonde") who has to stand nude all day while a crew films the shower scene from Psycho. A third strain emerges in the form of projections depicting tantalizing glimpses of Hitchcock's lost film—as well as, we're told, glimpses into his psyche and how it drove his work (an artistic Rosetta Stone, always a chancy proposition). We get a suspicion after a time that every (non-Rosetta) stone is going to be unturned, with scene after scene depicting Hitchcock, Alex, and the Blonde's husband (Eric Knutson) engaging in various modes of caddish behavior, from actual violence to crass manipulation. And while this Joel Sass-directed production tosses up intriguing moments, with a cast that seems determined to locate the script's surreal edges and chilly tone, by the end we're left with a handful of sand. Something is clearly simmering here about gender relations, and it doesn't reflect particularly well on the Y chromosome. But obsession is hardly exclusive to men, and by the end of this nearly three-hour journey the insights offered into our dual protagonists hardly validate what came before. Our fixations might be basic and simple, but one hopes not as trivial as these.