Of all the theater companies whose work I've seen in New York over the years, none has meant more to me than The Talking Band. I try to catch all their shows, but given the short runs--typically three weeks or less, once or twice a year--I sometimes miss one. Among my favorites: Delicious Rivers, Flip Side, The Walk Across America for Mother Earth, Hot Lunch Apostles. Not everything they do is equally brilliant, but their work is unfailingly intelligent and even their weakest shows leave you with much to think about and moments to remember.
Their latest, Marcellus Shale, written and directed by Paul Zimet with music and sound design by Ellen Maddow, is, to my mind, one of their most powerful, and it deals with an issue some members of the company face, living as they do in areas threatened by fracking. It's set in a community in which many folks have leased their lands to gas companies and have been living with the consequences. Through the windows of their houses, we see those lands, thanks to some extraordinary video design by Anna Kiraly, and the ghostly figures that walk across them--as the characters struggle to find a way out--haunt my imagination.
You have to have till Sunday, June 9, to see this amazing show at La Mama.