Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Mc Alpin Hall in the reviews...

Mentions of Mc Alpin Hall in reviews for Animals out of Paper 

Animals out of paper....

Furthermore, Ran Xia’s set complements this show well. Xia has built a littered, scrappy place into what looks to be an abandoned hall of an old church. The audience hears lines about “counting blessings” while seated on folding chairs level with the actors in the remains of a hollowed-out church banquet room. The juxtaposition presented through this assists the play’s message that words don’t always reflect reality. The real origami that punctuates this set creates the one, small, good thing about the “paper zoo” in which these characters are held captive.

Director Merri Milwe stages the play skillfully in the rec room of West Park Church. The drab and drafty space was a fitting place for the story.  The creaky floorboards and overhead lighting from old chandeliers really set the scene for me. There stage is filled with some extraordinary origami sculptures courtesy of Sok Song and Lorne Dannenbaum (and a long list of other artists).  The giant hawk, the human heart and hissing cockroach were among the most remarkable.

While Ran Xia's art studio set is rather sparse, the space becomes one with the small room at West Park Church where "Animals Out of Paper" is staged. Though the fourth wall is not broken here, audiences are pulled into the world of Ilana's studio, which feels real and really, really cluttered. The vast parade of origami animals adds dynamic value. The glow-in-the-dark, color-changing origami that appears during scene changes is also a nice touch.

The space is challenging, as the old church hall still has the dust of bingo parlor about it.  Set designer Ran Xia swings for the fences using every inch to advantage.  This may be the only play ever to list an Origami Consultant in the CREDITSDescription:  So, Talo Kawasaki, well done!

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