Kindergartners rated R, run amok
Special to The Seattle Times
"Computer" by High Kindergarten Performance Group, produced by On the Boards. 8 p.m. today-Sunday at On the Boards Studio Theater, 100 W. Roy St., Seattle; $18 (206-217-9888 or www.ontheboards.org).
Do not invite the High Kindergarten Performance Group to perform in your home. If you do, be prepared for quite a bit of cleanup, because these performers (led by local theater stalwarts Tamara Paris and Matt Fontaine) are messy.
They are messy in the literal sense — "Computer" leaves the stage at On the Boards smeared with an unhealthy concoction of shaving cream, fake blood, bulk candy and Mountain Dew.
And they are messy in the figurative sense. A textbook example of the "throw it all at the wall and see what sticks" mode of performance, "Computer" wanders through loosely conceived vignettes and musical tributes before arriving at a place not far from where it started.
Costumed in the nauseating lime color of special-effects "green screens," the cast buzzes through a series of aimless communal activities and playful stunts in various stages of undress.
Four cast members race to empty eight cans of shaving cream onto the floor as another individually "fires" each member of the audience. (Yes, audience interaction, but gently done.) A naked man drones into a microphone as the rest of the cast takes a nap.
Much of this flotsam intentionally incites audience confusion, though not so aggressively as to become uncomfortable. Almost all of it is also very, very funny — though they bear the off-putting label of "performance artists," High Kindergarten puts a heavy emphasis on pure entertainment.
Its name being what it is, High Kindergarten's "Computer" might best be described as the theatrical equivalent of finger-painting. Sure, if you look for a theme in the mess, you might find one. It might even "explore the co-evolution of human and machine consciousness," as it claims to do.
But it is most fun if you take it at face value — equal parts genius and laziness, a glorious R-rated splatter of exuberant nonsense.
Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company