Have you ever look at yourself and wondered how does that work? What do the millions and millions of dead cells do when they were alive? Do they communicate like us? Am I a planet? And if so, have you spent hours upon hours online learning of what makes you…you? These are the questions that drive “Body: Anatomies of Being” conceived and directed by Jessica Burr and written by Matt Opatrny, playing at the New Ohio Theatre. Actually not questions, let me correct myself, the play is not driven by those. It’s driven by the answers. It’s driven by a story that connects these answers. It’s driven by the idea that almost everything in life is determined by the body you have no say in.
The play opens with the questions: What are bodies? How do they look? What’s different about them? And how do they pose this question? By having most of the cast appear naked on stage when the lights come up. Oh yeah, everything exposed. Challenging our very nature to feel shame about nakedness and demanding acceptance if you want to stay. I loved it. From there, the story is told throughout disjointed scenes that are linked and monologues that explain each body in their own way. This is where the meat is.
While the story works, the writer did not do a great job of connecting the dots, but it was more than enough to let the individual moments work. Each of those monologues were powerful science lessons combined with how that specific lesson affects them in life. There’s no beauty, no ugliness, just life on display at its most raw.
The show demands a lot more than it gives. I’m not saying that as a bad thing. At a running time of a 100 minutes, they really are pushing it with no intermission. Almost every person is naked for a good amount of the show, which creates an uncomfortable atmosphere. Yet I loved it all. The choreography, the dialogue, the boldness of the whole production. Bravo to this team for going all the way and succeeding.
The Blessed Unrest’s world premiere of “Body: Anatomies of Being” is a unique date to be had but one you should. It’s quite good, not great, but very good. The script needed to link the story together a bit better, and the technical aspects, while they were well done, never really caught my attention as something special. That’s nitpicking, the play is not for you to go laugh and feel good, but for you to have the answers about your body and see how the experience of life is affected by it. What you do with that knowledge is up to you. “Body: Anatomies of Being” will be playing through May 21 at the New Ohio Theatre.
Out of 4 stars:
Twisted Talk: Are you excited to see science and theater intertwine? Have you seen any shows at the IRT Theater? Discuss below!