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BEST DIRECTOR Minneapolis 2001 - Andrew Kim

In two productions this past year, Andrew Kim has demonstrated himself to be in possession of a rare quality in theater: an evolving, original directorial vision. Both City Rhapsody at In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre and Passage at Intermedia Arts (co-produced by Theater Mu) were daring, multidisciplinary works. Now, we hesitate to recommend anything saddled with the awkward term multidisciplinary, as the results are often a puzzling mélange of angular modern dance and affected scenery chewing. Kim, by contrast, draws from complementary disciplines: Passage found inspiration in both the masked performances of Korean theater and the physical theater of French mime, while City Rhapsody wedded the visual poetry of stage designer Duane Tougas to the more literal spoken-word poetry of Thien-Bao Phi. Both productions drew additional inspiration from elaborate, collective improvisations by the cast. The result: a variety of onstage tableaux that were sometimes wildly comic (enraged, inarticulate squirrels chattering furiously at the audience) and sometimes profoundly beautiful (a dying man rushing toward his daughter, tearing through a long sheet of white fabric as he did so). Kim is clearly experimenting with an enormous imagination and a wide variety of theatrical devices. What is astonishing is that his experimentation, when it reaches the stage, feels necessary, logical, and complete.

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