Standing in a well-worn North Philly industrial building, we are greeted by a gas-mask visage.
Covered head-to-foot in bright yellow rain gear, the figure clop-plops across the cement floor in giant scuba fins, leading us down a meandering hallway to a space where, as expected, a performance occurs. And, as our program instructs, the show — “Event End.” — is indeed a meditation on latent fears of The End.
Of our lives. Our planet. Our species.
But that is where any and all reasonable expectations evaporate, as 11 performers present us with an experience that, like a drug-induced hallucination, ebbs from body-stiffening panic to melodious rejoicings of the spirit.
Found Theater Company is comprised entirely of current and former Temple University theater students. With just two months of development and a bare-bones DIY budget, this fledgling troupe has achieved something rare and unmistakably remarkable. Under the direction of Allison Mae Hoban, “End.” is an ensemble-created, blank-verse poem of sorts — shape-changing genres throughout, from play to musical, from to modern dance to acid trip. And back again.
Of course “Event End.” is much more than that, too. It is a reminder of the tragically oft-forgotten revelation of Fringe Festivals everywhere: A few committed artists, working with scarce resources, can indeed create something magical together.
Beginning to End.
“Event End.” begins in a generic office, as a group of festering data managers establish a mechanical, nonverbal rhythm. But soon the performance leaps into ambitious and, at times, downright dangerous territory. The office descends (or ascends, depending on your point of view) into a dreamscape of both personal and universal anxiety, as Robert Carlton’s original score guides us through hallucinations, tribal rites, prophesy, the King James Bible and, finally, a celebration of hope in the face of staggering odds.