THE GAS HEART (Once More Theatre): 2016 Fringe review 87

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Tristan Tzara called his play THE GAS HEART “the greatest three-act hoax of the century.” While structurally the play is built into three acts, the whole thing runs at only about twenty minutes. Once More Theatre embraces the Dadaist poetry in his text through their incarnation of the play. It’s a play which throws semiotics out of the window while also relying on symbols whose interpretation rests entirely on the viewer. The characters are named after body parts – Eye, Ear, Nose, Neck, Eyebrow, and Mouth. There is interchange of action through nonsensical phrases (“You over there, man with wounds of chained wool mollusks, man with various pains and pockets full, pie-man of all maps and places, where do you come from?”) There are hints of romance between Eye (played by an energetic Carlos A. Forbes) and Ear (Barbaraluz Orlanda, who helps bring charm to the jumbled text.) But there is no obvious plot or theme driving THE GAS HEART. Even Tzara himself didn’t find his work masterful: “…it will satisfy only industrialized imbeciles who believe in the existence of men of genius.” It’s a tease for theatre aficionados, as you know there are audience members leaving the play feeling cultured for sitting through such a strange piece, when in fact Tzara felt his work was actually “anti-art.”

Once More Theatre also includes a second piece in the evening – THE SCOTTISH WIFE’S REVENGE. It intends to provide an alternative insight into Lady Macbeth’s psychology and psychosis, by showing Lady M as a more sympathetic figure.

[Community College of Philadelphia, Bonnell Building, 1700 Spring Garden Street] September 19-22, 2016; fringearts.com/the-gas-heart.

Featured photo by David Kappler

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About the author

Joshua Millhouse

Josh Millhouse is a writer, performer, and theater administrator based in West Philadelphia. He hopes, in the near future, to self-produce his own work. In the meantime, he's working hard, seeing lots of theater, and enjoying this circuitous pattern of trips to Wawa that is Philly life.