So I started looking for them on the internet, and realized I had just missed their production of Tennesee William's Vieux Carré at REDCAT here in Los Angeles, but it's playing in New York now. The Wooster Group is an experimental theatre company known for use of multimedia (like TV screens), sexuality, mashing up classics, and generally bringing the weird in their shows.
I like experimental theatre, even though it's a total crapshoot (And it's certainly not for everyone). That's the way things go with experiments--they don't always work. But I love seeing people do new things and trying something different.
Here's a nice review in the LA Times: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/2010/12/theater-review-vieux-carre-at-redcat.html
And an article in the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/21/theater/21vieux.html?_r=1&ref=theater
Most interesting is this article in the LA Weekly: http://www.laweekly.com/2010-12-09/stage/tennessee-williams-wired/. Stephen Lee Morris responds to the suggestion that works need bold re-interpretations to keep them from becoming irrelevant versus the idea that works should be seen the way they were intended to be performed by the author. Vieux Carré, however, is not a widely-performed play, so how do you re-interpret something that hasn't been interpreted that much to begin with?
Morris conceded that The Wooster Group's production would not cause significant damage to those unfamiliar with the source material. My question is, is it the artist's problem at all whether their audience is familiar with the source material? Should entertainment experiences come with pre-requisites? I don't think so. (Okay, that was two questions) My opinion is, don't worry so much about whether something is a good version of a particular play, just worry about whether it's a good show.
**PS: Scott Shepherd, should get some kind of MVP award. He just finished playing the narrator of Elevator Repair Service's Gatz!--that means he's the guy who has the entire text of "The Great Gatsby" memorized (See #7 in their FAQ), and now he's in this show, too. Actually, he just got nominated for an IRNE Award in Boston, so that's pretty close.
Sara Krulwich/The New York Times
Scott Shepherd, left, and Ari Fliakos