Entrances and Exits
This one won’t.
Entrances and Exits, the latest from the iconoclastic Pangea World Theater, defies easy explanation. A free mixture of dance, movement, poetry and ritual, the 70-minute show asks plenty of questions about how and why we live, but – thankfully – doesn’t try to hammer any answers home.
Directed by Pangea Artistic Director Dipnakar Mukherjee and written by Meena Natarajan and the five-performer ensemble, Entrances and Exits is a kind of free-association theater, with various styles jumbled together. The show’s structure is roughly split between the open-to-interpretation dance sequences and more concrete skits and monologues.
It begins with a dark stage, the light slowly comes up on two figures who slowly move across the stage, all the while keeping their distance from each other. This lack of connection in modern life seems to run throughout the show, as people try to find meaning in life, in love, or just ignore meaning during their busy days. Some turn to the spirit, but not always for spiritual ends, such in one fun sequence where the cast try to get worldly gain from water that has been spiritually purified.
The quintet of performers – Katie Herron, Peter Jensen, Ismail Khalidi, Clare Brauch and Alberto Panelli – show no fear throughout, living with every moment of the show. Sometimes, Entrances and Exits teeters on the edge of being so self-involved to become a parody, but the performers and creators always pull it back from the edge.
The best moment comes, appropriately enough, with the last monologue. Where grains of rice are used to show how each of us is, at some level, related to each other, and that all of the problems of the world are truly “family” problems.
Entrances and Exits keeps it brief, and the bit-more-than-an-hour show flies by. I can’t say that I understood the meaning of all that I saw, but the evening gave me plenty food for thought, which makes this offering a true success.
Entrances and Exits runs through April 23 at the Playwrights’ Center, 2301 Franklin Ave., Minneapolis. For information, call 612-822-0015 or visit www.pangeaworldtheater.org.