The Play Company presents an irreverent, genre-bending piece about a Chinese dissident artist. Part of the Summer Shares season at La MaMa.
Theater makers Christopher Chen and Lee Sunday Evans apply their playful imaginations to the work of a Chinese dissident artist. Their hybrid show invites you to navigate a labyrinthine trail between truth and perception, authority and authenticity, illusionary art and real jeopardy.
"An intricately constructed, unrelentingly destabilizing puzzle of a play about the anatomy of truth and the provocative power of illusion…The story that the sympathetic Lin Bo tells is not what it appears to be. Neither is much else in this ever-shifting play, directed with exquisite precision by Evans, and slyly designed every step of the way…The one thing spectators can be sure of is that they are inside a production that is also a kind of art installation, and that it is messing with them."
"The physical production is beautifully realized…The execution couldn't be better: Evans and her team clearly found the 'Inception'-esque challenge of the text exciting. Performances are strong throughout…Where the piece can sometimes feel thin is in the text itself. Chen broaches ideas, but he's too quick; since each scene is barely 20 minutes long, it has only time to contribute to one really clever thought. Still, it turns out to be a useful thought."
"'Caught' is filled with so many unreliable narrators and shifting stories, it is hard to know what is what...The feeling is akin to waking up from a dream, only to find oneself in another dream. Yet thanks to committed performances from the cast, we keep re-suspending our disbelief...Even if you get lost along the way, Evans' sure-footed production will keep you from drowning in confusion...Chen gleefully pokes fun at the myriad fallacies that presently reign over American art and media."
"Chen, who as a playwright is the smoothest of con artists, has neatly constructed a series of scenes that fit into each other like Chinese boxes...The director, Lee Sunday Evans, stages this flimflammery with the surest of hands, aided by a cast who are skilled at playing straight even in preposterous circumstances...Altogether, 'Caught' is a funny, stimulating evening that urges us all to think twice before spouting the received ideas that make us feel comfortable with ourselves."
“Upon entering the space at La Mama that is
part art exhibit, part performance site, it is clear that this won’t be your
typical piece of entertainment. Even before taking your seat, so many
questions come to mind about the goal of the experiment that is explained as a
variation on human imprisonment and its effect on the psyche. The concept
instantly grabs your attention and sets the stage for a powerful and moving
personal story – or so one would think.”
"Each scene unfolds itself like a mysterious Chinese box, directed craftily and ingeniously by Lee Sunday Evans…The cast is outstanding, and especially memorable are Leslie Fray, who plays both Joyce and the curator, and Jennifer Lim…This play is definitely an adventurous departure from the traditional structure of most theatre, and especially with the inclusion of an art-installation into a theatrical piece, 'Caught' is worth checking out. "
"A lively rumination on the truth claims of various intellectual pursuits…Chen finds both humor and pathos in the position of artists in an age of science and technology. ‘Caught,’ which is satiric without being didactic, gets at the folly of imposing scientific standards on discourse that isn't meant to be scientific…The Play Company has assembled a resourceful production that, though frugal, appeals to spectators' eyes and ears."
"Messes with your head in the most exquisite of ways...The show is in places very funny, but it also has some thought-provoking things to say about truth and lies and perception...By the end of the fourth scene, which swerves into the unexpected, the audience is unsure of everything, including whether to applaud. All this might sound frustrating, but it’s actually fun to experience, helped along by the credible acting and fine work in a small space by the design team."