FRINGE REVIEW: Louder Is Very

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BY AARON STELLA FRINGE CORRESPONDENT My plus one described Louder as post-apocalyptic primal therapy. Perhaps “therapy” is the wrong choice of words: I think “punishment” is more like it.  Louder is not for the weak of heart, and very much for the hard of hearing. If you go, do yourself a favor and TAKE the complementary pair of earplugs offered at the ticket desk. As you settle yourself into the humid warehouse of the Blackbox Theater, take note of the phalanxes of antiquated Soviet Union megaphone horns staring you in the face. Also, you may notice that there are about 15 to 20 thin strands of wire suspended in mid-air horizontally across the ground level stage, and the giant mechanical spider that looks like something out of a low-budget 80’s sci-fi flick, possibly with David Bowie in it. Once the performance began, a projection of a aircraft-carrier from the Vietnam War was hazily shown on the back wall—then the noise commenced. The stage hands started manipulating the suspended wires with their hands, violin sticks, whispers, with greater or smaller variations of force to create corresponding noises, all of which sounded like glorified horror movie sound bytes. The gibber-jabber of disembodied voices was also interwoven into the symphony of noises, always kept just at the threshold of comprehensibility, in a way that complimented the eclectic din. Some of the aforementioned wires functioned as pulleys for creepy metal cutout figures. When they passed in front of the huge projection light, they looked like demons or restless souls bewitched with wanderlust, forced to haunt their old stomping grounds, waiting to be released from their torment, and their sorrow. Although mostly clatter and screeching, a theme perpetuated throughout was the terror of war (not to be confused with the War On Terror). Verdenstreatret, director and concept designer, portrayed war as senseless, long, drawn out, and really, really loud. What’s Good: Really creepy sound effects; amazing set design; the giant spider. What’s Bad: excruciatingly loud noises; somewhat long drawn out performance; yeah, I get it: WAR BAD. WAR LOUD. GRADE: B-

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