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February 22, 2018
Review: Talking Band’s Risk-Taking Music-Theater Piece ‘Fusiform Gyrus’ Is a Master Class in Imaginative Directing
Photo credit: Suzanne Opton

What it’s about: Two old, eccentric scientists discuss philosophical ideas while reminiscing about the tenure of their personal and professional relationship. Accompanied by a five-piece band, Fusiform Gyrus is a “music-theatre” work, which explores a plethora of themes and ideas through a non-linear narrative and music.

Why you should see it: Ellie Heyman. The Drama Desk-nominated director of Beardo defies the limitations of the Here Arts Center’s downstairs space with a production that is imaginatively staged. The threadbare plot maybe hard to follow but the continuous surprises in the set and video design by Anna Kiraly and the magical lighting design by Mary Ellen Stebbins provide for a visual treat.

Performances by Tom Nelis and Paul Zimet are proof that veterans of the form can make a meal out of even thinly drawn characters, introducing the audience to worlds that are not on the page. The musicians are all uniformly excellent and used brilliantly by Heyman.

Fusiform Gyrus is a challenging play in form and convention and Heyman has now over and over demonstrated that she is the director of choice for plays and musicals one may consider “non-traditional.”

What could be better: This is a question of taste rather than craft and for some, Fusiform Gyrus may prove a bit too meandering. For an intimate space, the big band sound is a little too big.

The Last Word: Ellen Maddow has constructed a risky work, exemplary of the history and mission of The Talking Band. Luckily, she has a director like Heyman at her side who handles the challenge with remarkable skill and innovation.

Event Info:

Fusisform Gyrus

In Manhattan at HERE Arts Center

Now – Feb 25th, 2018

See the full Event Page
Connected Post:

Review of ‘Dinner with Georgette’

By Arpita Mukherjee

What is it about: Balti and Jaker are gay 20-year-olds enjoying romantic and sexual possibilities on their college campus. When Jaker asks Balti to pretend to be straight during Jaker’s grandmother’s campus visit, a chasm opens and Balti finds himself traveling back in time. As Balti sorts through the national history that binds him to Grandma’s homophobia, he meets a yarn-spinning rattlesnake, a Korean-American war child, and the founders of the first gay bar in Las Vegas. When he attempts to return to the comforts of modern-day gay life, he finds that time works differently inside the closet than outside, and his love with Jaker may be irretrievable. Part of the Next Door series at New York Theatre Workshop. Why you should see it: If you haven’t had a chance to check out Ellie Heyman’s work yet, despite my reviews of Beardo and Gyrus Fusiform, here’s your chance. One of the most exciting directors working today, Heyman creates theatre magic out of nothing again. She transforms the fluid, but compact space at the 4th Street theatre into what feels like a glamorous rabbit hole. The scenic design by James Fluhr and lighting design by Mary Ellen Stebbins is superb. Even when Rick Bur …Read more

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Written by: Arpita Mukherjee
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