Scenes spark around us like a long tail of igniting firecrackers. Another room is illuminated. Next, a vignette. Soon all are available for exploration. The twisting paths feel like the unfathomable tunneling of memory storage, but the lives we're moving through are not our own. Even the sound, while anchored scene by scene, bleeds gently into the next. We're fumbling into another's databank, threading together the experiences as we travel.
The level of dedication in the performance is beyond that which most will have seen as there is no simple role and often the performers are required not only to deliver emotionally striking material, but even infuse their own personal experiences into the performances in a sometimes scripted, sometimes improvisational confessional. It’s cathartic not just as a story, but for those who are there to take it in.
In Thomas Riccio’s new progressive symphonic theatricale, “w(hole)”, playing at his decadent sprawl of a reclaimed warehouse in West Dallas rings true as a Tibetan gong. Taken apart, as in autopsy, it strains and fragments, laments and groans, lashes out with sexual angst and sweaty frustration. Screens scatter randomly throughout the candle-lit landscape, showing 1960’s home movie family holiday clips over and over, backwards and forwards, excerpts from a Fred Astaire dancing extravaganza and unrecognizable black and white action films. Scenes ebb and flow as the audience floats along, adrift, overwhelmed by a cacophony of images and sound. Sensate, intemperate immersion. Oddly enough, “w(hole)” weaves together with satisfying symphonic grace. Emerge refreshed, cleansed, jubilant.