Mindflux: A Film About Richard Foreman
directed by Ryan Kerrison
starring Richard Foreman
Ride5 Media Group
Who knew there was a Godfather of Avant Garde theater? Well, there is, and it’s the enigmatic and little known Richard Foreman. While he didn’t start writing for the stage until his 30s, he’s been prolific ever since, and established quite a reputation with the New York artist world. Beginning with Angel Face, his Ontological-Hysteric Theater had a string of productions that tended to lose half their audience before intermission. Those who hung on until the curtain have certain bragging rights, not the least of which is the patience to find entertainment in nude people making odd huffing noises while atonal buzzing plays over the PA. This funky documentary visits Foreman, his students, friends, detractors and the patient critics who were paid to sit though his performances. While his works are intimidating and rarely performed, the documentary adds animations and archival footage to let you know just what you missed. Highlights include audition horror stories: “Imagine aliens inserted a voodoo doll in your chest and when you say certain words, the pins are pulled in or out. Read the part as if that’s happening, but you can’t let me know what words push which pins.” That line is a play in itself, and a good introduction to this weird slice of the theater world. At 55 minutes, this film is the right length to bring you up to speed on theater that places location and metaphor above conflict and resolution, but not drive you out to the lobby in search of an exit, pursued by a metaphorical bear.