Posted on Jul 21, 2013
3 out of 5
“I want you to get mad. Really mad.” Vibe Tribe KC’s show, “The Art of Madness,” which was presented at Off Center Theatre on July 19th, is just one of those shows they expect you to be intoxicated to watch; that is not an insult -- they pass out shots of a mysterious liquid in the middle of the show. Sit in the front row if you want to take that chance. But seriously, the show has a fun, and entirely weird, feel to it. With musicians in lab coats and dancers dressed in Alice in Wonderland: the Glow Edition attire, they not-so-subtly push political and ideological ideas onto their audience’s subconscious while mesmerizing them with glow-in-the-dark hoola hoops. Somewhere, hippies are fainting from pure joy.
The technical aspects of this show are top-notch. The sound effects, the lighting, and the props all show a huge commitment of the director and performers to the production. And it is all designed with the intent purpose of accentuating the idea that this world doesn’t make any sense.
That being said, the show doesn’t really reach its peak until the man on stilts section. The feeling this one performer brings to the show with his hoops is the feeling that the show tries, and mildly fails, to produce for the half-hour before he enters the stage. The choreography in the first half of the show is stunted by a few performers who just don’t seem to be having a good time. But then the performers perk up as the audience begins to understand the production and as the show nears its end. We are left with a few very tempting thoughts: “Break free of the madness” and “Which side of reality do you prefer? They’re all real.” Then the performers, in an act of feigned solidarity, beckon for the audience members to stand, join in, and make a change -- a request which is greeted with minimal enthusiasm.
All in all, it’s a strange production which pushes its audience to wake up from the tyranny and madness of the world using glow lights and illusions, and it does a pretty good job of being what it is. If that’s your cup of tea, then by all means, grab a cup of something a little stronger and enjoy; it’s certainly eye-opening if it’s nothing else.