BEST SHOW WITH NO VISIBLE HUMAN BEINGS Minneapolis 2005 - Autotomy
A little production company called Grinding Into Emptiness, composed of local artist Kristi Ternes and sometime Twin Cities resident Roger Peet, assembled last December at Bedlam Studio to put on a multimedia show rife with happy darkness. Autotomy combined shadow puppets, live music, and conventional puppetry to tell a story of allegory and paranoia in a police state that raised wacky echoes of Kafka at his bleakest. (Are we alone in thinking that, on some level, that was when Franz was having the most fun?) It was a story of spies, betrayal, and the impossibility of purpose when all has become oppression and suspicion. For all its lively, brainy storytelling, it kept coming back to humor--at one point, paint and projected light yielded results that would have made prime-period Syd Barrett a proud man indeed. Honorable mention in this category goes to Michael Sommers for his psychedelic moving comic book Over, Under, On, part of an Open Eye Figure Theatre show the month before. Both of these outings presented psychotic alienation with a goofy grin.