MUTE: Are you afraid of being simple?
New York Neo-Futurists’ MUTE - A story of being voiceless, of being silenced
Before Gemma and I saw the Neo-Futurist’s MUTE, an online description attempted to describe what I’d realize was the indescribable. Admittedly, the show partly interested me because it sounded as wild as the descriptions of NYC’s hottest clubs by Bill Hader’s lovable character Stefon from Saturday Night Live. “… shadow puppetry, clown work, video, live music, soundscapes, and three-dimensional ‘GIFs’…” What I realized during the performance was the necessity of exploring each and every one of these mediums; they structurally responded to the question of when an artist cannot speak, how do they connect?
In fact, MUTE was fairly truthful to different character’s points of view by utilizing other mediums. It is always said that actions speak louder than words, but we know that words may be easier to understand. Can wordless actions/ visuals actually reveal more about a person? Or do they oversimplify a person, i.e. in MUTE a mother figure only noisily stirs a cup of tea for an entire scene? It made me think whether or not we as people afraid of being boiled down to simplicity?
Plays often ask the audience to believe in dialogue which attempts to sound realistic, but MUTE didn’t try to hide any thing.
The show works around a massive system of (what I believed to have been) bungee cords, hooks, and pulleys. The white, thin paper backdrop moved back and forth on the long cord and changed the depth of the stage (the insanely cool manipulation of this backdrop is reason enough to see this show.) Every time it was pushed to the back, a new piece of someone’s memory would be explored. I almost felt like I was entering the vast mind of someone with a story to tell and this extra space welcomed me into her story and playing space.
MUTE made me wonder... How can we use art to get to know one-another? Can art reshape how we think about moments in our lives? and furthermore… Do we benefit from reevaluating moments of pain? Is it necessarily better to forget them or to analyze them?