Jeremy M. Thomas

Stage Director

Herald-Tribune review of “POP!” at AACT Worldfest 2014

Posted on 19 Jun 2014 in News, Rabbit Hole | Comments Off on Herald-Tribune review of “POP!” at AACT Worldfest 2014

/ Thursday, June 19, 2014

From the absurd to the ridiculous, the AACT WorldFest 2014 at Venice Theatre is covering a lot of bases this week…

But there was also something sublime from the returning Danish troupe Black Box Pangea and its often mesmerizing musical romance called “Pop!”

The show features Emilie Bendix (who performed in the 2010 festival in Venice) and Rasmus Rhode, who play a couple in a romantic relationship expressed through the spoken and sung lyrics of pop songs. It’s not always easy to recognize the lyrics until the music starts on Pharrell Willliams’ hit “Happy” or Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball.”

Rasmus Rhode, left, and Emilie Bendix perform in the two-character musical play "Pop" by the Danish troupe Black Box Pangea, which was featured in the 2010 international theater festival in Venice. Staff photo by Jay Handelman

The production juxtaposes lyrics in order to detail the strength and struggle of a relationship. Sometimes the lyrics seem generic, but they taken on greater meaning by the end.

“Don’t you ever say I just walked away. I will always want you,” one says. Later, quoting the song “Say Something,” they speak and then sing and repeat “say something, I’m giving up on you. Anywhere, I would’ve followed you.”

They use a bank of lights that rise or lower by moving some weighted bags. At times, the audience is blinded by the lights, just as a lover might be to a partner’s flaws. But it all balances by the end in this stunning piece.