Friday, September 4, 2015

Camel Camel - a Fringe Festival Review 2015

Camel Camel is laugh out loud funny.  I left the show wondering if that's all I was supposed to do, though, or maybe there was some deep philosophical underlying message that I should be taking away with me?

Janessa Johnsrude and Meghan Frank's show is described as "David Lynch meets Abbott and Costello."  It's definitely strange, weird, surreal, fantastical ... but it also seems to invite us to question our awareness of self, identity, dualism, the doppelganger phenomenon. 

We're told early on that the story we'll hear is somehow connected to what's going on in the head of a Ukranian prisoner, then we're led on a journey of self exploration that seems to include gender bending, gender confusion, an exploration of sexuality and self discovery where mind over matter meets matter over mind.  The sisters seem aware of being observed while overtly unaware of their own selves.  "How can I be beginning and ending all at once?" is one question left unanswered.

The Camel sisters seem to realize they're putting on a show for us, at the same time they're unrehearsed and unprepared, they fumble around their characters and costumes, mumbling to themselves and each other at the same time as they put on their actual show.  They seem intent on presenting their outer fabric, their masks, but entirely unable to hide their inner selves as their characters morph through various Goddess types and the unruly gin-seeking subservient animal other that appears and reappears in various forms. 

I honestly don't know what I witnessed at Camel Camel, but I'd go see it again again at the drop of a hat!  Maybe next time I can figure out what's part of the play and what's not, what is the play and how does it connect to the man in prison who heard his two sister voices?  Their use of the space, their costumes, the screen shadows, the music, the puppet ... it all left me wondering, as the Camel sisters wondered ... "I'm still me, are you still you?"

See Camel Camel at Venue 3 - The Metro Studio - Friday the 4th at 8:45 pm, Saturday the 5th at 4:00 pm.