. . this experiential, postdramatic production is undeniably strong. The cacophony of media is deliberately overwhelming, but the execution of each component is faultless. Video by Keith Skretch is sharp, disturbing, and powerfully disorienting. G. Lucas Crane’s live manipulation of sound and video is unfailingly specific, and he does it all while performing with the formidable Jim Findlay. - The Review Hub
Put This On Your Radar
. . provides an intriguingly avant garde, visually arresting, and even at some points funny volley in the crusade against conventionality. - Culture Catch
. . . the questions Decoder poses become all the more urgent. The larger issue is how we respond to the information we are fed: do we accept the reality it presents, reject it entirely, or cut up the book and make our own story from its scraps? In any case, Decoder makes it clear that an internal revolution has already begun—and yes, it will be televised. - Emily Cordes Theater is Easy
For an hour we were bombarded with a story of sorts, broken up and reassembled. The sound played, rewound, stuttered, and while Crane was doing a LOT of work, there was also something about it which seemed effortless, flowing naturally from the man, through machines. The spoken word also contained its fair share of word and phrase repetition, starts and stops, almost as if Findlay was a machine himself. It was structured but it was also on the fly . . . it was inspired and innovative and lacked pretense.“
– Canada’s GEIST
"The Decoder project attempts to reprocess the mass media, the viral images and words that keeps us blinded in our cave, Decoder 2017 confronts the audience with homeopathic doses, decadent antibodies, of what Burroughs calls the “ugliest pictures in the dark room,” precisely in order to inoculate the audience against these viral entities (Burroughs, Nova Express, 13)."
– AMMERMAN CENTER’S BIENNIEL 2018 ART AND TECHNOLOGY SYMPOSIU
THIS WAS THE END
Chekhov wrote in a naturalistic style; Ms. Catlett prefers a supernatural one. A meditation on memory and decay, This Was the End... is less of a play and more of an apparition, a ritual, a haunting in one act. Its first scene is an extended hallucination in which Peter Ksander’s set, goosed by Keith Skretch’s video, appears to flicker and spasm.
– NEW YORK TIMES
The actors reencounter their previous selves through projections and audio recordings, as they count pills, sit on a swing, dart in and out of doors, and run in circles around a giant, life-size cabinet with sliding doors, a set piece repurposed from the Mabou Mines Studio at Manhattan’s PS122. . .”The show offers an expansive notion of what it is to get older,” Catlett says. “I’m interested in drawing that out of the actors. You see flashes of their younger selves.”
– AMERICAN THEATRE
Memory and image, literary ghosts and an actual possession all phase together in Mallory Catlett's sublime This Was the End, a postmodern séance for, among other things, downtown New York. Built as a palimpsest over half-remembered scenes from Uncle Vanya, the video-rich work plays with old media and new, using a quartet of older actors to imply a performance that has been going on, somewhere, for decades.
– TIME OUT NEW YORK
We see aged performers running, dancing, making out, fighting, and also trying to remember lines, trying to remember what happens, trying to remember where they were when it all happened. The performers don’t pretend to forget: they deliberately never fully learned their lines. As Catlett points out: “The piece required no memorization. Text was triggered or improvised. [The actors] had a working knowledge of the material, but actually needed to sort of forget it to play the scenes correctly.“
...as the projection begins to pulse and vibrate, to list to one side, then the other, take on new textures, contract and expand as an electronic soundtrack builds in intensity. Recorded memory, this impressive feat of technological choreography suggests, is mutable, subject to infinite varieties of manipulation.
– THEATRE TIMES
The idea of duplication, inherent in rehearsal and theatrical performance, permeates the production.... ...what makes the ending of Vanya moving, the anguishing struggle of these characters to find meaning in the remainder of their lives shines through, perhaps a bit more brightly, with the frailty of age baring itself to view.
Trompe-l’oeils disjuntivos de Mallory Catlett –QUESTÃO DE CRÍTICA
AWARDS & FUNDING
For a theater set seamlessly doubled by video projections, echoing the role of memory with its odd tricks and resurrections in the profoundly unified and moving production.
“this was a design masterpiece, easily the best use of music and video I have seen by American designers... a theatrical sculpture of music and imagery that acted as both agent and comment on the power of memory.”- HELEN SHAW, NOMINATOR
2014 Obie Awards - Special Citation
Nancy Quinn Fund
Creative Opportunity Fund