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Banana Bag and Bodice's new show is, among other things, a wonderfully abstract exploration of gender identity. logo
Jason Craig and Jessica Jelliffe
in Space//Space
(© Ryan Jensen)
Banana Bag and Bodice's new show, Space//Space at The Collapsable Hole in Williamsburg, is a wonderfully abstract exploration of gender identity and a playful riff on the space-time continuum.

Set in a container floating through space at an unspecified time, the piece focuses on two brothers Lumus (Jason Craig) and Penryn (Jessica Jelliffe) who volunteer to be launched into space in this capsule along with greatest hits collections of records to show other life forms what was valued on earth.

The answer turns out to be mostly underground electronic music with heavy house beats supplied by company composer Dave Malloy mixed with the odd classical string piece.

As the 75-minute play opens, Penryn wakes from a three-year sleep to discover that he has developed lady parts, something neither brother is prepared for. Jelliffe outfitted in a bushy fake beard but possessing delicate features walks a fine line between masculine and feminine, while Blomquist, spotting the same bushy fake beard oozes unregulated testosterone.

The script -- written by Craig, and also featuring Peter Blomquist who makes a brief appearance at the start of the show reading non-sequiturs from note cards -- plays out a bit like a stream-of-consciousness game of telephone. It's hard sometimes to look back from where you came and make sense of it all, but that seems to be the point.

These two characters we're stuck with are struggling to find a purpose as they while away the time between eating "emergency sandwiches" that mysteriously appear every time they pull a certain hatch. It's a fleeting moment of pleasure but one they savor like the minidance interludes the records supply.

Lumus is also an aspiring stand-up comic, and he works out his bits in front of us (as he'll probably never see a real audience), and they range from the banal to the bizarre. Fortunately, director Mallory Catlett has a keen sense of orchestrating mood, and while the show falls a little short of its existential ambitions, it's nonetheless a worthy way to while away some time with a side of introspection.

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