New Ohio Theatre and Our Voices Theater present a world premiere from acclaimed avant-garde playwright Charles Mee, celebrating famed outsider artist James Castle. More…
What drives a person to create nearly 20,000 pieces of art? Born profoundly deaf, Castle never learned to read, write, sign, or speak. His art was his language. Bringing his world to life through bluegrass music, dance, and multimedia displays, 'Soot and Spit' enables its audience to experience the "other" and rejoice in the unquenchable creativity of the human spirit.
"The experience is rich and singular. Energy and psychic texture reverberate through the space. Every member of the stellar cast gives a full, vibrant performance...Best absorbed as an experience rather than by hanging onto a traditional sense of plot...Director Kim Weild guides this play with a masterful hand, while allowing each individual member of the cast and creative team to shine. 'Soot and Spit' is a singular experience that cannot be missed." Full Review
"The collage structure of the text is backed up with the multiplicity of design elements coming together in a tapestry rich and thick in texture...Mee presents a view from an artist’s perspective, giving us a taste of a completely different theatre...A successful attempt of recreating the world through the eyes of the 'other.' Instead of appropriating the voice of the voiceless, the musical celebrates our differences in the ways we perceive the world in a very loving and joyful way." Full Review
"A beautifully designed, dreamily evocative production...It puts its money where its mouth is, casting-wise, nudging us to consider more deeply the notion of artists who don’t fit the standard mold. Mr. Guido, who gives a sympathetic, unsentimental portrayal of the uncompromising Castle, is deaf...Mee does not deal in cookie-cutter art. 'Soot and Spit' does have some fallow stretches. Still, it is a strange and lovely thing, a theatrical reanimation of an artist and his work." Full Review
“Director Kim Weild creates a world of fascination based on playwright Charles Mee's wildly imaginative, utterly surreal, and deeply intimate device…The multifaceted production successfully brings to life James Castle's life in ways that are at once entertaining and heartbreaking. However, there are moments during the show where I hoped for more distinction between Castle's experience inside of his inner world, and his experience whilst with others.” Full Review
“The production offers a landscape view of Castle's life and uses music, dancing and projections of Castle's artwork to give insight into his silent world…Unfortunately, the play lags at times—especially during the second act where Castle's art comes alive around him—when scenes become repetitive and difficult to understand. Ultimately, though, Mee educates us in a moving story about this almost forgotten artist whose perseverance inspires as much as his art does.” Full Review
"A rare show, in that its intent is so intensely pure...There is a whole lot of something to this, as an experience...'Soot and Spit' comes off just a little too far in to esoteric territory in order to achieve its goals...It is difficult to watch and remain engaged all the way through, and this is problematic...While the product is flawed, that does not take away from the purity of spirit behind it, the good it may yet do, or the talent of the people involved." Full Review
See it if you love the work of Chuck Mee, and are interested in seeing a show that makes profound use of differently abled performers.
Don't see it if you do not enjoy the work of Chuck Mee and the absurdity his work often entails.
See it if Bio musical of notable artist told in typical Mee play-with-music style by a cast which includes artists with disabilities - touching
Don't see it if Artist is outside general knowledge and may not prove to be a compelling subject; off-off production values can be a hurdle for some scenes
See it if you're open to experimental theatre and under-the-radar talent, or if you want to support Deaf Talent or Talent with disabilities.
Don't see it if you're looking for a linear plot or traditional play or musical. This show is not traditional in any sense.
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