Judy Doomed Us All

 

 

By Marcina Zaccaria

 

Filled with boisterous movement and characters who bound from the trash heap floor to a band stage of makeshift platforms, Rat Queen Theatre Company’s interpretation of the Reagan era defies traditional consciousness.

Judy Doomed Us All features Book & Lyrics by Rat Queen Theatre Co., music by Nathan Leigh and Graham KG Garlington, directed by Carsen Joenk and produced by J. Mehr Kaur. In the world view of Rat Queen Theatre Company, Nancy Reagan wears boxy, red jacket and delivers inspirational speech after inspirational speech, after putting on elongated gloves with convincing panache. Most of the action takes place around the 4th of July at a Fair Ground. Images provided are in-your-face, styled, and ready for deconstruction. Set design is like a CIA information study, with pictures of a state map surrounding the Kansas area. The National Press Tour of Nancy Reagan is revealed in commentary by a journalist. With a beautiful, oversized recorder, Kitty Kelly interviews not only Mrs. Reagan, but also the intelligent speech writer traveling with Mrs. Reagan.

 

 

The flurry of activity surrounding the First Lady is curated by a band, featuring live drums, guitar, base, and keyboards on stage. Singers shift, striving to look taller in their platform shoes, each taking the microphone to bring their special blend of hard rock, blues, and stardust to the stage. Be aware, Rat Queen Theatre Co. has enlisted an entire company of performers in their 20s to make this happen. Some of the characters appear only a bit older than Drew Barrymore in the movie, ET. Much happens, as Dorothy and the other folks remain destined to make it through the entire whirlwind. When they sense doom, they would hope to counteract it.

Performers appear and disappear from every side. Surrounding them is the notion that music will continue, and the Festival is yours for the taking. When the Rat Queens bring it, it’s really on. While sharing their universal message that friends matter, they look almost ready to embrace their own small town, outside of NYC roots. Putting themselves in the era of Reagan era astrology and down home Am-er-i-can values, they envision themselves inextricably tied to the larger world surrounding them.

 

 

Of course, Judy Doomed Us All celebrates Ice Factory Festival impulses toward blasts of loud, industrial music, synchronized movement, and winks acknowledging our shared past. Though the performance, at 2 hours and 15 minutes seemed a bit long, particularly in the beginning, the dance sequences and clever set-ups off to the sides of the stage, reminded the audience that the stars and stripes are ripe for interpretation, particularly in the eyes of these growling onlookers.

 

Photos: Valerie Terranova

The Ice Factory Festival continues through August 10. The New Ohio Theatre is located at 154 Christopher Street between Greenwich and Washington Streets in New York City.

For info visit NewOhioTheatre.org, Like them on Facebook at /NewOhioTheatre, and follow on Twitter and Instagram at @NewOhioTheatre.

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