I saw GLOW, the short original on which Chunky Move’s one-hour MORTAL ENGINE , now playing at BAM, is based, two or three years ago. It was startling in its merger of technology and honed, conditioned, athletic movement. For one who experienced the progenitor, MORTAL ENGINE is less impactful in its technological wizardry – at least until the lasers come – and the electronic music can be trancelike and lulling. But go despite that for the fusion of light, sound, electricity and athletic passion. It is a little Bauhaus in its geometrics (shades of Oskar Schlemmer), a little Dada in its optics (like the films of Man Ray), a little Constructivist in its design (think the moveable parts of Meyerhold), a little Futurist in its celebration of technology (imagine what Marinetti would have done with such toys). Yet it is completely contemporary, its own thing; by recalling the theatrical past it asserts itself in the present, the postmodern not as cultural exhaustion but as creative affirmation.
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