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THEATER REVIEW | 'JET LAG'

Going Places in a Media-Saturated World

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David Pence in a scene from Jet Lag.


By JASON ZINOMAN Published: September 29, 2010

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OP-ED COLUMNIST

The dazzling shows of the Builders Association make just about every other theater company look as if its living in the past. Threedimensional computer animation, floating videos, seamless integration of the real and the virtual the eye-popping stagecraft seems from the future, but the content is typically of the moment.
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Technology moves fast, so the revival REPRINTS of the groups 2000 drama Jet Lag SHARE a moody, multimedia production that surrounds its puzzled characters in a media-saturated world is, perhaps inevitably, going to seem like a period piece. Staged elegantly by the Builders artistic director, Marianne More Video | Multimedia Weems, with the help of the architectural firm Diller Scofidio and Renfro, Jet Lag follows two tragic

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http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/29/theater/reviews/29jet.html[10/17/11 9:16:42 PM]

Multimedia Show from the Builders Association - NYTimes.com

characters escaping the world through travel. A British sailor (an anxious, deadpan David Pence), loosely based on a real person, fakes a voyage around the world with the help of a video journal, and an elderly woman (Moe Angelos) and her grandson embark on 167 THEATER SHARE consecutive transcontinental flights set 'Jet Lag' in a nonspecific present. The narratives An Excerpt are as simple as fairy tales, and the setting seems to be less a distinct place and time than a virtual world of amplified voices and moving screens where nothing is exactly as it seems. In a consideration of the show in 2000, Herbert Muschamp, then the architecture critic for The New York Times, described the media as the main character and compared those that are human to something out of The Matrix. The production can seem a little cool at times, in the way that the movie 2001 does, but there is a hypnotic and ominous point of view behind this mood. The look of Jet Lag remains startling, if not as ambitious as more recent shows that work harder to blend the virtual and the real, and to employ a less conventional structure. Today when someone wants to escape the world or create a fake life, they probably do so online. The distracted characters in Jet Lag use technology to isolate themselves, but they also physically go places, even if where those may be is something of a mystery. The kind of loneliness portrayed here seems different from that in an age of social networking. The most striking visual in Jet Lag is a three-dimensional animation of the interior of an empty airplane getting built, row-by-row, right in front of your eyes. After Sept. 11, of course, a crowded plane might be more chilling than a deserted one, but this is still a potent image. This show makes you feel as if you are living in a video game, while more often, in todays world, it can seem as though you are lost in the chaos of a crowd. Jet Lag continues through Sunday at the Alexander Kasser Theater, Montclair State University, Montclair, N.J.; (973) 655-5112, peakperf.org.
A version of this review appeared in print on October 2, 2010, on page C10 of the New York edition.

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Multimedia Show from the Builders Association - NYTimes.com

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http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/29/theater/reviews/29jet.html[10/17/11 9:16:42 PM]