This is the only place where baby doll dismembering, Santa Claus chopping, guts wearing, head smashing, dub-step listening, and wrapping a woman in plastic are okay. Crawling into the BASEMENT means being forced to face all these things, and also all other audience members—we sit in a square room staring at each other. There is no place to hide, and it is exquisitely uncomfortable. The achingly beautiful way Gunnar Montana and his chain-linked half-naked crew wreak the dance we do with ourselves when heartbreak has already taken over is surreal and so real. Like a stunning performer in the show left bare and cold in a bathtub, after breaking up we are left only with our own weak souls and victimizing thoughts.
Hearing, “I just want to make sure you’re okay” from an old lover over the loud speakers is almost as painful as watching the dancers throw themselves against walls, getting bloody. Their once-threatening looks become a single bed of self-loathing, and the darkest corners of our minds have never been so collectively touched. The connection between the scary violent mayhem we make up in our heads, paired with leftover lust and erotic remnants of memories, has never been visually presented in such a way. Love is blind, and even though we see the warning signs, our animalistic nature and pure curiosity never fail to lead us down those fateful stairs, and into the BASEMENT. [Asian Arts Initiative] September 13-21, 2013, fringearts.ticketleap.