note: entire contents copyright 2000 by Will Stackman
The finale of this year's Providence Puppetry Festival is a "new" work entitled "Rubberneck & Nimrod" by local troupe, Big Nazo, headed by Ermino Pinque, Artistic Director. Pinque, and his fellow performers (Anitra Brooks, Richard Goulis, Addur Mateen, Myrian Melo, Beth Nixon. Manuel John Pombo, Norman Ospina Quintero, and Rose Shuman) have taken various masked characters and full body puppets, previously seen at rock shows, festival appearances, and street parades, and woven these "masks" into a scenario involving questions of personal and body image, life, death, and resurrection.
Their dialogue seems to have come from rehearsed improvisation, which has evolved in most cases into commedia-like bits and routines attached to the company's signature characters. The result would be more satisfying if the group made a real attempt to answer the final question of the evening. The results are episodic with only vague continuity.
There are several striking moments and characters during the evening, particularly Edna, the green lady, who claims to have made herself ugly so as to become more real. Certain rants, especially a senile rave on Nimrod, hint at significant emotion behind the company's low-end surrealism. Ultimately, there is no resolution to any of the intriguing possibilities this not-ready-for-prime-time troupe begins to explore. The unfortunate answer to their final question is not "What?" but "Why?"
The show runs through Sunday afternoon, Oct. 8th at the Perishable Theatre on Empire St., just around the corner from Trinity near AS200.