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Men Go Down

John Jahnke's highly visual spin on Greek mythology proves to be shockingly empty. logo
Hillary Spector, Tanisha Thompson, and Alexander Borinsky
in Men Go Down
(© Dixie Sheridan)
While talking the talk, writer-directors can be intriguing. Here's John Jahnke expounding on his Men Go Down, now at 3LD: "I have taken inspiration from the new texting/twittering style that has destroyed an articulate approach to communication and removed pertinent words from the script in an effort to create a language that is both profoundly elegant and shockingly empty." Walking the walk, however, Jahnke trips over his own feet throughout the 65-minute piece, and "shockingly empty" becomes a prophetic assessment of what he's wrought.

The story he tells is a spin on the Greek legend, wherein surpassingly beautiful king Endymion of Elis enchants moon goddess Diana and is put into a 1000-year slumber so she can worship him nightly. Jahnke imagines that during his waking years, Endymion, at sea with the Argonauts and doing other things too numerous to go into here, impregnates the nymph Dryope and problems develop.

Men Go Down -- the title carrying a sexual connotation graphically suggested in a kick-off communal hot-tub scene -- is set in 1895, a year after Diana (Hillary Spector, a lovely spectre) has awakened the slim and agreeable-to-being-fully-frontal Endymion (Alexander Borinsky). Cavorting under the influence of cocaine with libidinous scantily clad servants, Endymion is nonetheless still at sea as to how to acclimate himself in this latter-day life. He becomes further discombobulated when still-pregnant-after-1500-years Dryope (Tanisha Thompson) arrives.

Within the walls of a supposed Turkey hotel room --designed by Peter Ksander to accommodate that upstage bathing pool, various screens for projections, and a table under which characters can do whatever -- Jahnke has his players spout that "profoundly elegant and shockingly empty" prose. Or does he mean it to be poetry? No matter: Any interest in what's actually meant wanes within minutes.

Not the eyes, however. They're consistently filled with images of characters moving about the stage as if in an outre modern dance. Moreover, Jahnke's taste for young physiques, amply on display, indicates he casts for looks as much for acting ability. They all pose here and there, forming tableaus that illuminate nothing about communication and do little more than illustrate an artist's self-indulgence.

For tickets to Men Go Down, click here.


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