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A CurtainUp Review

God Is A DJ
By Amanda Cooper

I don't care anymore, man, I've successfully completed therapy boy, I'm totally over it, yo. As least I'm not some child porn star forced into retirement. -She
If you are completely turned off by this play's title, don't let that deter you from coming out to see the show. What's more important is how you feel about zippy, surface electronic music, high priced modern furniture, post-modern gallery installations and extreme Generation Y-ers. Are you intrigued? Turned off? Both? Well, if the above does not make your eyes roll, you may fit God Is A DJ's target audience.

The show in this uber-loft style white-painted theater has been translated into 15 languages and staged in major cities including London, Amsterdam, Zurich, Athens, Copenhagen and Barcelona. It begins with a long video projected onto the back wall of the stage. A young male (the He of the He and She who make up the cast) travels around New York and beyond, using cutting edge video imaging and manipulation along with a relaxed, beat-inflected voice-over monologue accompanied by computer generated music. After about ten minutes our young couple casually walks onto the set, making themselves at home as they watch the video.

As expected, as the video sequence ends, He and She take over the action. They are supposed to come across as the quintessential young urban couple: attractive, hip, smart, no lack of money, in love, having fun and oh yes, artsy. Unfortunately, added to these characteristics is also the inevitable shadow of, for lack of a better term, posing. Sure, He's got a certain haircut and pants, but he's also wearing an Adidas sweatshirt. She has just enough blond streaks to give off a Carrie Bradshaw vibe, and let's not forget that Ms. Sex and The City did indeed live on the Upper East Side.

The ungodly long intermissionless show is filled with fact and fiction about these two characters. We learn that we are watching an art installation for which they are handsomely paid. We get glimpses of how their life style affects their relationship.

Taken apart, segments of this show are fun, even witty and satirical. However, tt does not come together as a whole. A dark directorial undertone is left messy and floating. The production overall feels a bit hollow, as though the creative team did not fully grasp this mainstream counter-culture. Ultimately, the concept of selling out, and the tongue-in-cheek recognition of doing so feels very turn of the millennium -- not quite far enough away to be nostalgic, but not timely either. Sure, Reality TV is HUGE, but God is a DJ has a more highbrow/lowbrow art commentary going (and let us not forget that The Real World came about in the Nineties).

Sarah Fraunfelder who plays She makes a valiant effort, but is unable to sustain the high-emotion moments ( she was great in Theater Faction's Oresteia earlier this spring). Timothy Ryan Olson as He seemed unable to find grounding for his character, giving the impression of bouncing from line to line. These issues are more about translator and director Yuval Sharon whose translation is fine and full of interesting ideas but fails to gel as a whole. Erik Nelson's video work is more interesting than his sound design. Nina Egli makes a cameo appearance on screen as a flustered, uptight interviewer trying to communicate with Fraunfelder. That cameo may just be the cleverest part of the evening.

God Is A DJ

Written by Falk Richter
Translated and Directed by Yuval Sharon Cast: Sarah Fraunfelder and Timothy Ryan Olson, with Nina Egli
Set Design: Katya Blumenberg
Lighting Design: Greg Emetaz
Costume Design: Erik Nelson
Sound Design: Erik Nelson
Video Design: Erik Nelson
Running Time 1 hour, fifty minutes with no intermission

Ontological Theater at St. Marks Church, 131 East 10th Street at 2nd ave Smarttix at 212 868 4444 or
6/04/04 to 6/26/04; opening 6/07/04
Wednesday - Saturday at 8pm.
Tickets are $25, $20 for students
Reviewed by Amanda Cooper based on June 4th performance
Written by
Directed by
Set Design:
Costume Design:
Lighting Design:
Sound Design:
Running time:

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