Theater Review: CRUSH (No Puppet Co.)

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by Gregory Bernard on August 8, 2020

in Theater-New York


No Puppet Co. is offering the World Premiere of CRUSH, an ingenious, fun video puppet play presented in six parts and released in separate installments on YouTube through August 20 (the delicious segments will remain there for viewing later on).

Picking up roughly from where Kafka left off — a loner, squatter, and rebel dares to love, we follow the anti-morphosis through a series of beat poetry performances as our hero draws nearer to the object of his desire and his undoing.

When Krista Knight‘s play, a finalist for the 45th Annual Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival, was canceled due to COVID-19, Knight and Barry Brinegar decided to use the virtual tools they’d been experimenting with prior to the pandemic to create something completely remotely, completely in-house. Literally, in their house. CRUSH was created in Knight and Brinegar’s 500 sq-ft home studio in the East Village.

They recorded actor Ben Beckley (What the Constitution Means to Me on Broadway) as the voice of The Cockroach in two sessions over Zoom (on his iPhone) and set up a home nerve center with 5 monitors (assembled from a motley crew of tablets, computers, and spare screens) and used virtual technologies to capture motion in 3D space to match the vocal performance. With one person in virtual reality and the other watching the footage, they recorded the live animation.


[Editor’s Note: Since publication of this review, CRUSH has been announced as one of six winning works of the 45th Annual Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival. The winning play, which was selected from over 500 submissions and a group of 30 finalists, will be published and made available for licensing through Samuel French, a Concord Theatricals company.]

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