Los Angeles Theater Review: CAUGHT (Think Tank Art Gallery in the Fashion District, DTLA)

by Tony Frankel on December 5, 2017

in Theater-Los Angeles

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CAUGHT IN ITS SPELL

An onion-skin experience, Christopher Chen’s magnificent Caught is indeed scripted, but you won’t know that when you’re watching it. Part immersive theater, part performance art, part installation, part thrust theater, part food and drinks, and pure play, this exhilarating look into politics, propaganda, and perception is pocked with paradox. It begins innocently enough in a gallery displaying actual art where we drink actual cocktails (ain’t nothing phony about the mescal!), mingling with fellow patrons (all guests see the show and get hors d’oeuvres for $45; drinks are extra).

Soon, the gallery owner introduces Lin Bo, a Chinese dissident artist who was jailed in China for two years and wrote an autobiography detailing the horrors, some of which he reveals to us. What he doesn’t reveal is the beginning of Chen’s brilliant (yeah, brilliant) rabbit hole where nothing is what it seems as the scene morphs to a magazine office, a lecture hall, a dressing room, and … I refuse to divulge any more.

Much of the fun is being in a constant state of delicious delirious doubtfulness as the beautifully written and constructed piece, innovatively directed by New York’s Ed Sylvanus Iskander, unfurls like a Brain Teaser puzzle that is as entertaining as it is provocative regarding art, truth, and deceit (all will be revealed in the end). What I can tell you is that the terrific actors and creative production team are — once again under the guidance of the always inventive Firefly Theater & Films and VS. Theatre Company — bringing you one of the best shows of the year. I’m rather certain the impact would not have been so great were this staged in a conventional space, where the abrupt ending could be a turn-off, so get yourself to an ungentrified strip in the Fashion District and give your intellect a workout.

Caught
Firefly Theater & Films, VS. Theatre Company
Think Tank Gallery, 939 Maple Ave., second floor, DTLA
Thurs-Sun at 7:30
ends on December 10, 2017
for tickets, visit Think Tank

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