Monday, September 24, 2007

"Extreme production fascinates with variety"

'Extreme' production fascinates with variety
Star-Telegram staff writer

FORT WORTH -- Tammy Gomez's She: Bike/Spoke/Love, presented one time in a sold-out Saturday performance by Sound Culture, is difficult to categorize. Let's just call it "extreme theater."

It's extreme in that it involves bicycles, of various sizes and shapes, with the actors riding them around a small stage, close to the audience.

But it's also extreme in how it fascinates with a variety of performance styles.

It's modeled after hip-hop theater, using spoken word (the "If I Hit It" passage was the best verbal moment), showboating (there's a bicycle stunt dude) and a turntablist (DJ SOL*LOS). There's also multimedia, live music and agitprop (the line about how we're "choking on auto exhaust and government deceit" sums it up best).

But at its heart, there's a moving story about a young girl named Esa (Dominique Fay, in a beautifully natural performance) working on her relationships with her boyfriend Ken Sabe (Richard Rangel) and her mother (Dina Lee Chavez). Esa imagines her perfect novio in the form of El Sabe (Ramsey Sprague). In the end, they learn to accept one another for who everyone is.

And what about the bikes? They serve as metaphors for sex, growing up, finding balance and participating in life's race.

The piece could use tightening, but it's successful overall. One thing's for sure, you'll probably never see anything else like it.

For more information about She: Bike/Spoke/Love, visit

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