Albuquerque’s theatrical community is growing, at least for the month of January. If you’ve lived here long, you know these temporary citizens come to you by way of Tricklock Theatre Company. For 12 years now, Tricklock has brought acclaimed theatrical acts from around the world to our little city for the Revolutions International Theatre Festival. This year, it’s flown in artists from Israel, Switzerland, France, Spain, Mexico, Italy, Kansas and Chicago, along with hosting a few locals.
Juli Hendren is a founding member of Tricklock, but this is her first year curating the festival as its co-artistic director. “It’s nice to be more a part of the creative process,” she says. The crafting of Revolutions began in March, and her year was spent hunting for new shows and sorting through piles of applications.
“I try to look for stuff that’s a little more on the physical side or is heavy in style.” Hendren also gravitates toward pieces that speak to current events. She says that while Tricklock has never aimed to search for shows that fit around any particular theme, themes naturally emerge in the festival’s lineups. “Artists tend to be reflecting what’s happening in the world or what’s needed.” This time, the common thread through some of the shows is about “love and the need for human connection,” she says. “It makes me optimistic for 2012. ... It seems like a lovely way to start the year.”
After being a part of Revolutions for more than a decade, Hendren’s favorite part of the festival is “the interconnection of people.” She says the three-week-long event was set up to encourage participation between performers and viewers through galas, galleries and the recurring tradition of Tricklock’s variety show, The Reptilian Lounge. “I love that people can go up and have a conversation about why they’re doing what they’re doing or about a specific place,” she adds. “Through art, you get a window into a lot of different things and can really connect. You can break bread.”
It’s 1979. Filmmaker Werner Herzog is on a mission to propel a 300-ton steamship over a mountain. A few celebrities are lost along the way (Mick Jagger, Jack Nicholson and Jason Robards), but Klaus Kinski comes to the rescue. In a fantastically fictional escapade, Kansas’ Buran Theatre dabbles and then delves into the nature of wishes, insanity and dreams with The House of Fitzcarraldo. Expect sing-alongs and cap guns.
Death is the centerpiece of Exitus, from Spain’s Titzina Teatro. Four people’s lives intersect in this stark tragicomedy.
Perpetuo Mobile Teatro, from Italy and Switzerland, presents a show that’s a bit of a mystery. Sehnsucht (German for “longing”) is built around a masked duo. The two archetypes explore ideas of empathy and fate through physical theater and live music.
Go to this one for movement. With a cacophony of mediums—acrobatics, clown, mime, object manipulation, music and dance—Macadames’ Roadway Closed to Pedestrians, from Paris, aspires to achieve a lone task: “to link love, the greatest of emotions, to the greatest number of people.” Bring your kids and prepare for laughter.
Albuquerque’s Brian Herrera looks back on his teenage years in I Was the Voice of Democracy. Sharing memories à la David Sedaris and Spalding Gray, Herrera questions how much we really change.
NK603 and Requiem for a Lost Land come from Mexico City’s Violeta Luna. The first piece is named after a genetically modified corn seed and reflects on the ecological ripple-effect of growing hybrid engineered food. The second digs into the disturbing everyday consequences of the “war on drugs.” These shows aren’t recommended for the young ones.
Do take your children to Insomnia, by Albuquerque’s Loren Kahn Puppet & Object Theatre. Through puppets and music, Insomnia lives inside the mental wanderings of a sleepless night. An actress, a puppeteer and an insomniac tell their story in this piece developed for kids ages 9 to 13.
When Sofia was 16, she found herself hiding from the Nazis in Holland. She was the daughter of children’s author Clara Asscher-Pinkhof. Before the war, mother and daughter published children’s stories together, which Sofia illustrated. After Clara was sent to concentration camps, Sofia passed her time in hiding by drawing. Sophia’s Drawings by Israel’s Galilee Multicultural Theatre is based on those illustrations. Sofia’s daughter tells the story of that time in her mother’s life through puppets and sculpture. Although the subject matter may seem heavy, this one’s fine for the kids.
For educators and students alike, The Teacher Show is a product of Chicago’s Working Group Theatre. Three solo performers join together to deliver both funny and heartbreaking stories about their time at the head of the classroom.
Lullabies for My Father comes straight from Tricklock Theatre itself. Formed in the verbatim style of theater, it’s based on interviews with people in Albuquerque, including lawyers, students and artists. Physical and fantastical, it’s about the nature of fatherhood and the oftentimes complex relationships we form with the men we first knew.
For a sneak peek at what Tricklock’s working on next, there’s Excavations New Work Series. This time, there are bits from three works-in-progress, starting with Waist Deep in Ice. Set in the 1800s, Waist Deep explores the “treatments” given to women suffering from hysteria by one particular Parisian doctor in an attempt to calm them down. Next is a quick preview of The Menu, a show coming to the stage in full form this spring, based on a book of poetry by Jim Linnell. Last is Strangeways, a new conception from Hendren. Based on a real-life African river kayaker who was killed by a crocodile, it looks at the notion of high adventure and the lives of those who “feel the need to live on the precipice of death all the time just to feel alive,” says Hendren. She’s in the process of applying for grants to bring company members to Uganda for research.