... speared the rod and spoiled the lightning;...
In a dramatic turn of events, the noted media theorist Marshall
McLuhan was recently discovered in San Francisco. Through THE
MEDIUM, a wildly creative and innovative theatrical production based on McLuhan's
predictions about the impact of media and technology on the contemporary psyche of our
culture, his legacy lives on.
If THE MEDIUM is the message, then a play filled with the intimacy and immediacy of live drama is an important vehicle to present the impact of this cultural change in human terms. That is why as part of its second season, Modus Ensemble presents world renowned director Anne Bogart and the Saratoga International Theater Institute (SITI) in THE MEDIUM, a whirling and kaleidoscopic theatrical interpretation of the life and writings of McLuhan. The play runs Wednesdays-Sundays, April 26-May 7, 8:30 p.m., Sunday matinees 3p.m., at Theater Artaud. Anne Bogart and the SITI company will take up residency in the Bay area to head panel discussions, lectures, and acting and movement workshops throughout the region. For more information of these events, call Modus Ensemble at 415/346-6456.
Adapted and directed by Bogart, THE MEDIUM takes the audience channel-surfing across the final brain waves of our century's greatest communications guru. THE MEDIUM follows a stroke-afflicted Marshall McLuhan through Alice's Looking Glass into the whirling mania of the Boob Tube, where he confronts the fulfillment of his worst and most insightful visions of the human dysfunction in an electronic age.
THE MEDIUM showcases Bogart's Expressionist approach to celebrating the free exercise of human passion and imagination in an intensely physical, choreographed form. In directing THE MEDIUM, Bogart dances the ancient art of theater along the slippery silicon borders of cyberspace and creates a hallucinogenic voyage through the complex and stress-addled contemporary psyche besieged by simulated reality and the juggernaut of technology. Scenes, movements, and moments shift abruptly, at times manically, and suddenly lyrically-like the blips and bleeps of electronic media.
Praised by the New York Times for its "compelling, perfectly harnessed energy' THE MEDIUM begins as McLuhan suffers a stroke and wanders in confusion into the television environment that he spent his life analyzing, criticizing, and warning against. In this upside-down world, movement is highly stylized; dialogue is distinctly non-naturalistic; content is one-dimensional and absurd; and the overall delivery is numbing and dehumanizing. Moving from channel to channel, McLuhan encounters familiar television characters such as political pundits, stand-up comics, talk show hosts, televangelists, and sitcom families-each offering ironic perspectives on technological "progress".
THE MEDIUM comes to San Francisco following The Actor's Theater of Louisville special January, 1995, mid-career celebration of Bogart's accomplishments entitled "Modern Masters," which featured critiques, lecture-demonstrations, and three Bogart productions including THE MEDIUM, Elmer Rice's The Adding Machine, and Small Lives/Big Dreams.
A photograph taken of the chief
bombardier before delivering the A-Bomb of media
circa 1964. It is estimated that the devastating blast of "Understanding
Media" affected over 100 million people with the fallout still continuing to this
An open letter about McLuhan studies.
April 26- May 7, 1995, 8:30pm