ETERNA-TEA, written and performed by Dawn Obokata and Nicole Champagne, directed by Richard Nieoczym. Presented by LeTHAL in association with le Contre-Courant at the Poor Alex (296 Brunswick). Runs to November 5, Thursday-Saturday at 8 pm, matinee Sunday 2 pm. $10-$12, half-price Sunday. Rating: N
Puns, on the order of "All wet/Alouette," abound in Eterna-Tea, a tepid offering produced by LeTHAL (formerly Actor's Lab) and le Contre-Courant. Appropriately, it feels like eternity.
An uninspired pastiche of grant-application-friendly themes (child abuse, the French-English situation, emotional and physical dislocation), the imagistic, quasi-poetic show never amounts to anything but a self-indulgent form of dress-up. Two women, writer/performers Dawn Obokata and Nicole Champagne, put on ethnic and gender-specific costumes, mouth puns, hint at some former relationship and confuse the hell out of the audience.
There's a vague feeling of ritual at work here, a bit of unfunny clown work, plus a couple of startling images, including the high camp appearance of red lasers near the end of the show.
I'm sure the piece means something to the creators and director Richard Nieoczym. But with funding from at least two levels of public money, the show gives small theatre a bad name.