Lincoln Center Festival presents this synthesis of handmade animation, claymation, live music, and theater: a dystopian fable for the 21st century that satirically asks who—or what—is in control of our technologies? More…
Like a giant graphic novel burst into life, 'Golem 'invites you into a dark and fantastical tale of an extraordinary, ordinary man. In 'Golem'—which draws inspiration from both the shadowy figure of Jewish folklore as well as the early 20th-century literary work by Gustav Meyrink—humankind’s downfall comes about through a time-saving, life-simplifying gadget bought by the masses. A nightmare of the digital revolution made all the more ghoulish by the candy-colored world in which it is set. The brainchild of British performance group 1927.
"Interaction between live actors, actors on screen, claymation and ‘drawn’ animation is skillfully and humorously coordinated offering endless surprise…In the guise of a fable, the eloquent Andrade has penned a sardonic morality tale ingeniously visualized by partner Barritt, played by an enlightened cast of clever cartoons, human and otherwise. Every thespian holds his/her weight in skilled mime, dialogue, and movement. A marvelously unique and entertaining evening of theater." Full Review
"'Golem' is a very stylish piece, at once tongue-in-cheek and sober…They are seasoned actors, who often capture and freeze expression and gesture to emphasize a point, or to collaborate with the animation going on behind them…Like Chaplin, and that’s saying a lot, this troupe can tackle monumental subjects with infinitely detailed and satisfying gestures and phrases…'Golem' is a tour de force, delivered with grace and bemusement." Full Review
“A dazzling, seamless synthesis of live performance, animation, music and theater that is difficult to describe, but amazing to behold...Technically speaking, the integration of the live actors and animation is astonishing...Director/writer Andrade and animator/designer Barritt are onto something genuinely original, and it would be well worth catching the ceaselessly absorbing ‘Golem’ before it closes.” Full Review
"A wickedly ingenious satire on consumerism and conformism...Paul Barritt’s animated sequences brilliantly incorporate stop-motion, photomontage and dirtied-up computer graphics...Writer-director Suzanne Andrade’s script is witty, broad and fetchingly lyrical. The sheer technical achievement is rather mind-blowing, and the frisky, adorable performers endow their two-dimensional costars with three-dimensional weight (even humanity)." Full Review
"A visually dazzling, mind-pinching production…The integration of Mr. Barritt’s animation and the work of the cast is the show’s most singular and bewitching achievement…The characters are essentially cartoons themselves, though the cast injects them with flickers of pathos….'Golem' isn’t drawn in particularly subtle strokes. But its tart critique of a modern world increasingly homogenized has been imbued with such hallucinatory visual allure that your attention is held fast." Full Review
"'Golem' meticulously combines five clown-like performers, booming narration, live music and film animation, leading to a wholly coordinated piece of theater that defies ordinary characterization, resembling a trippy art installation and an animated movie brought to life. It is told in a visual style that recalls both the European avant-garde movements of the early 20th century and claymation cartoons meant for children. It’s Fritz Lang’s 'Metropolis' meets 'Pee-wee’s Playhouse.'" Full Review
"Ingenious and ultimately quite moving show...An eye-and ear-filling riff on 'Der Golem'...It reminded me in places of Elmer Rice’s 'The Adding Machine,' on the one hand, and Spike Jonez’s 'Her,' on the other. I suppose my quibble is that this 'Golem' is so charming—I mean the show as much as the creature—that the ontological tale gets pretty lost. And so the general takeaway—technology bad, punk-rock good—seemed kinda banal. Still, the show is a wonder, and here I am, still thinking about it." Full Review
"Dizzily inventive and colorful...A sad-sack nobody acquires a golem...First it does his bidding, but then it takes him over, and the show becomes a heavy-handed metaphor for the pernicious rise of consumerism...The squeaky monotones of the five live actors were a deliberate contrast to the antic brilliance of the animated drawings...The piece feels long, and the music is a nattering background, but the variety and deployment of Barritt’s deceptively simple drawings are astonishing." Full Review
"Beyond bringing this imaginary creature to life, the animation was mainly of use for secondary matters, almost like incidental music, bolstering transitional passages and scene-setting, although it was so imposing that everything else, including the score, was secondary. Members of the cast were perfectly coordinated but were too often reduced to narrative automatons serving the needs of Andrade's script, besides being perhaps straightjacketed by the production's intricate demands." Full Review
for a previous production "A visually astonishing, intellectually invigorating show, which taps our anxiety about being manipulated by shadowy corporations and agencies…A witty collision of knowingly antiquated aesthetics, wide-ranging cultural influences and modern-day sensibilities…1927 was the year of Fritz Lang’s dystopian masterpiece 'Metropolis'...I don’t think it’s festive hyperbole to claim that at times this feels every bit as ground-breaking an achievement." Full Review
for a previous production "You won't find funnier or more dazzlingly synchronised interaction between live performance and a crazily satiric animated world than in 'Golem'…All clipped 1920s accent and permanently sullen pout, Shamira Turner is splendid as the Golem's owner, the geeky Robert…The joyously deadpan script and extraordinarily precise direction are by Suzanne Andrade. Paul Barritt's animations are mischievously referential tour de force." Full Review
for a previous production "So stunning that the story could be about pretty much anything and still be essential viewing…In some ways, Andrade’s message is too blunt to be effective…To simply characterise ‘Golem’ as a political rant would be to ignore not only the visuals, and the lovely, jazzy live score, but Andrade and Barritt’s lavish attention to detail and wonderfully irreverant sense of humour...This is a cracked, exaggerated, funhouse mirror reflection of our world that you could stare into for days." Full Review
for a previous production "This is a significant work of theatre not just for the ideas, brilliant and funny acting, quirky and memorable script, but because it is truly innovative. Loads of productions incorporate elements of projection, clay animation and the ascetics of a graphic novel, but none as seamlessly and breathtaking as this. It’s as if we are seeing a new way of telling stories that has finally caught up with how we live...A very entertaining package, albeit with moments of repetition and heavy-handedness." Full Review
for a previous production "Writer/director Suzanne Andrade strikes at Western society’s consumerist heart with biting humour and a remarkable technicolour array of projected scenes…'Golem’s' characters, played with expert precision, are like dolls jerked through a dystopian, incredibly colourful and macabre world by forces far beyond their control. Yet, amid the sad society they exist in, 'Golem' is incredibly funny...The satirical edge sharpens in the more dramatic scenes." Full Review
for a previous production "‘Golem’ amply bears out the promise of the earlier shows, with additional technical expertise…The ingenuity is exemplary: yet this is my least favourite of 1927’s shows. Its message, though sympathetic, is too insistent. Still, I have set a high bar here. This is a glimmering evening; anyone interested in the theatre must attend." Full Review
for a previous production "The cutting-edge technical sophistication of this show is incredibly accomplished…Millimetre-perfect choreography that syncs so microscopically to the huge projections that it almost defies belief...There’s no denying the finesse of its execution, but that’s not to say this production is entirely flawless. The narrative is clever, even ingenius at times, but also incredibly insistent and a tad predictable…The strong connection it makes to B-Movie horror never feels fully explored." Full Review
for a previous production "The show never fails to be engaging, moving briskly from scene to scene with Barritt’s playful animations, although it’s still at least 15 minutes longer than it needs to be. ...Thankfully Shamira Turner’s superb performance as Robert is a guiding force…But all the performances are smartly and lovingly drawn cartoons, with some grounding in truth…There’s plenty pulsing away under the surface in the play’s first hour which comes to thrilling and terrifying life in the last few scenes." Full Review
for a previous production "An exquisitely made satire on our relationship with technology – especially that which is sold to us with a promise of personal empowerment and social connectedness…Visually, 'Golem' is a marvel...The show's five performers are a deadpan delight… It doesn't cut much deeper than that, however, and by the hour mark, the ingenuity of its presentation can't disguise the fact that 'Golem's' direction and conclusions feels set in stone." Full Review
for a previous production "OK, it’s not the sort of satirical genius to spark a revolution, but Andrade skewers the details well with a delicious dottiness to boot...Barritt's animations have the cut-and-paste coarseness of teenage fanzines. Transitions are slow though and, on top Andrade’s eye for a surreal tangent (a heartbroken French singer named Les Miserables, for instance), 'Golem' can feel sluggish. Prescient they might be, but 1927 still haven’t mastered timing." Full Review
See it if you enjoy brilliantly creative staging, like dark dystopian sci-fi tales, and enjoy quirky humor.
Don't see it if You require expensive sets and costumes, don't enjoy old-time movies or want big-name stars.
See it if you enjoy seeing the boundaries of theatre pushed to new levels. A delightful and intelligent evening.
Don't see it if you only enjoy conventional theatre and do not like satire.
See it if You want to see some really clever sets, you like quirky, odd plays, you like dark humor and dystopian stories.
Don't see it if you prefer more conventional theater, you don't like dark humor, you want something uplifting.
See it if you want to see a refreshing visual experience. If you like density on a story. If you want to hear an interesting music score.
Don't see it if you are not into avant garde animation. Lots of the show involved a big screen.
See it if Brilliant staging is your thing. I've never seen a more inventive use of technology/stagecraft! Like watching a Brechtian graphic novel!
Don't see it if You're turned off by heavy-handedness. They really hammer the message home.
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