DO NOT PUSH (GDP): Clown Symphony

Where invention, precision and skill are present, great theater is possible. Alex Suha, creator of DO NOT PUSH, has applied all of these attributes with a clever hand. A mime-esque dramatization of conflict between the most intimate of friends, DO NOT PUSH exhibits moment-to-moment slapstick brilliance.

Alex Suha and Kevin Chick in DO NOT PUSH. Photo Credit: Kathryn Raines at Plate 3 Photography.
Alex Suha and Kevin Chick in DO NOT PUSH. Photo Credit: Kathryn Raines at Plate 3 Photography.

Suha is both puppeteer and puppet, his body moving as impossibly and unpredictably as any muppet’s. It’s no surprise that his partner in this show, Kevin Chick, has worked with Jim Henson Company—there is something of Animal in both the physical dialect and the non-verbal, invented language used throughout, as much as there is of vaudeville and Curly Howard in the clowning and slapstick.

Violent as this show is, it is also strangely musical. There is an acrobatic fluidity which allows Suha and Chick to transition from one scene or attitude to another, creating sense out of flow rather than narrative.

It is impossible to tell if these characters are insane or cursed, delusional or devolving. Fortunately, it doesn’t really matter that you don’t follow what’s going on. The characters squabble, make up, and go back to bullying one-another, but always find new, unexpected ways to express their constant conflict, whether it’s hitting one-another with balloons, blowing the best invisible smoke rings, or one-upmanship with mimed cigars.

Though the production isn’t very similar to prolific GDP Productions’ last piece, Noir (see my Phindie review here)it fits in with artistic director James Kiesel’s steady investigation of violence in all its forms.DO NOT PUSH explores the cruelty and conflict of friendship, and the brutality of childhood, through a brightly-colored lens. A thoroughly-explored and hilariously apt score accompanies and complements the manic and hilarious progression of scenes. October 4-12, 2013,


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