The Pigeoning @ Here
Back for limited summer engagement until August 16
By: Patrick Christiano
The Pigeoning developed through the HERE Artist Residency
Program (HARP) along with the Dream Music Puppetry Program is an inventively delightful evening of puppetry conceived and directed by Robin Frohardt with music composed and performed by Freddi Price. The evening is a puppet nightmare, a very funny little gem at 60 minutes that follows an office worker Frank, who is obsessed with cleanliness and order.
Frank is trapped in a mindless 9-5 job, where he sits in a re-creation of a 1980’s office listening to a video/manual on office safety policies, which is only part 1 of 27. While struggling with his obsessive neatness Frank begins to think the pigeons, he keeps seeing, are communicating with each other.
With Price playing an ingenious keyboard accompaniment the clever staging seduces us into Frank’s world, where Frank, a two foot high puppet worker in spectacles, is reading his safety manual with growing suspicions that the pigeons are plotting against him. We watch his intensifying hysteria when he goes to a park bench for lunch, and the pigeons are suddenly there as well while he eats in solitude, they are his only distraction. Then when the pigeons begin following him back to work, Frank’s concerns turn eerily real, when his safety manual has a chapter on interspecies conspiracy.
The centerpiece of the evening of course is the puppet Frank, the creation of Frohardt and her co-designer Jesse Wilson. He is simply pitch perfect with his boggled look and subtle outrage, as he is gently carried from place to place by the four puppet handlers.
What is so uncanny about the piece is that I found myself constantly smiling in understanding of the character’s growing frustrations at his lack of control in the crazy world we live in today.
The Pigeoning originally ran at HERE, 145 Sixth Avenue, from December 3-22, 2013 as part of HERE’S 2013-2014 producing season. The Pigeoning opened again on July 12 for a limited Summer Engagement through August 16. For more information or to obtain tickets call 212-352-3101 or online at www.here.org