What's it about?
Isla finds herself trapped in a waiting room.
What I experienced?
It's insane to me how the human mind is able to decider something as initially complex as Arlington. What I love the most is for a story to began once most of the "action" has happened, because that's when I'm really trying to put things together for myself. Now if I'm right that's fine, but it's best when I turn out to be wrong. For Arlington... I'm not right nor am I anywhere near comfortable saying that I get what it's all about.
As soon as the set lit up, the first thing that popped into my head was Orwell's 1984. I hadn't done anything other than barely read what this show was about in the playbill - all I retained were the words visual art and dance - yet somehow my mind was able to immediately go to something as equally complicated as this story would eventually turn out to be. I swear I'm not weirdly proud of my brain, this is something I could easily see happening to the people around me in the audience. If 1984 doesn't sound familiar, all that you really needed to know is that the show was about a world in which we're seemingly always connected with each other through phones, like the very same one I'm typing this into. That's the shit of my nightmares.
At this point, a lot of social interaction has been diluted to disingenuous acknowledgment based on politeness. Thoughts like this for me are born out of the saddest episodes of my life, which is essentially what the world in which this story takes place. The catch, I am able to come in and out of those episodes, while Isla can't.
Isla's age is unknown (let's go with 32) and eventually it's revealed that she's been in this eery waiting room - which can genuinely pass for any type of waiting room. It's equipped with an empty fish tank, a cloudy window, a paper cup dispenser, and (we can all agree) the worst seating ever - 3 conjoined blue plastic chairs. Ugh! I have to confess that's one of the couple of reasons why I hate going to the doctor, another that being close to potential sick people terrifies me. Anyway, I digress. Isla communicates with a young guy (actually 32 years old) through an intercom. The interactions seem to be pretty much based on successfully recording a made up story about what Isla imagines the outside world is like, since she's been in that room waiting for her number to be called since she was FOUR!
Through the window she mentions seeing "other towers" (once again, can I say 1984). The idea that the world she's in has other towers with people like her is what I imagined would happen to me when my therapist said she'd think about a psychiatrist that would be a "better fit". I think that's one of the biggest reasons why Arlington - likely the least violent show I've seen this year so far- scared me so much. The dancing also added to that, with an eerily similar movement to that of seizures and panic or anxiety attacks. Isla would make these crippling motions with her entire body that were so accurate that I couldn't help but remember the dance aspect of the show I read in the playbill 30 minutes earlier.
This is another addition to my short list of grotesquely beautiful pieces I've seen. It made me want to look out for more dance- based storytelling. I think I've found what gives my brain that high off of being uncomfortable.
Want to see it?
$20 Rush Tickets (thru TodayTix)
@ St. Ann's Warehouse
thru May 28
What did you experience?
Let PXP know in the comments below...