Alongside the Neo-Futurists, Waltzing Mechanics are purveyors of micro theater. Their latest edition in the “El Stories” series ought to be called “Not Talking to Strangers,” following the conventional wisdom of public transit, which dictates that you keep to yourself and make believe you are anywhere else.
If there’s a moral somewhere in “El Stories” it’s that shared spaces are vital for forcing valuable and otherwise unforeseeable communal experiences onto us. It is how we learn about our city and forge bonds with the people in it. The moments we most want to avoid while they’re happening (urine, loquacious robbery, harmonica solos, etc.) are the same ones we wear later as badges of pride.
The conceit of the Mechanics’ direct-to-stage storytelling means that not all stories read like stories. Several are, as one surrogate narrator puts it, hardly even anecdotes. It is an evening of identity by composite and so the fact that various tales lack compelling structure, meaningful interactions or even a defining dramatic moment is wholly natural. Read the rest of this entry »