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DUMMY, A Dis-Play

DUMMY is a new work by Michael Sommers with Elise Langer and Bob Rosen, one of the co-founders of the Theatre de la Jeune Lune. From the Open Eye site: Sommers has taken his inspiration for Dummy from the world of late 1950’s—early 1960’s children’s television programming, and its influences of burlesque, parlor tricks, gags, and carnival games.

DUMMY effortlessly combines the comedic with the tragic. Objects live in the world that Sommers created. Balloons transform into flowers, hearts, eyes, dreams. A cigarette becomes a dancer. Hands and fingers are legs with attitude. Suitcases are worlds within worlds. There is very little dialogue and the play is threaded together by a series of vignettes with Sommers as Leonard, Elise as Elle and Bob as a headless man with the ability to manifest objects from his fabricated body. No psychology is present, no comments on actions. It exists because the people and objects exist. It breathes because the humans and objects breathe. Both humans and objects dictate action. The world contracts and expands by the very objects that are present. Elise gives a charming performance as Elle. Her smile is both joyous and melancholy, as if she hides behind her gleaming bright red lipstick. Her treatment of the objects shows her respect for their ability to define Elle.

DUMMY is not a selfish performance. It plays and invites you to see and play. DUMMY takes an object, like the balloon, and attempts to exhaust its every possibility. Sommers, Langer and Rosen create a world, choose an idea and explore as many facets of that idea as possible.