Can someone, anyone tell me what in the world Keep Your Electric Eye On Me is about? Not even the program provides a set storyline for this production. The artist’s notes say “in this dreamscape of reverberating energies—at times quiet, chaotic, noisy, ugly, dark or beautiful—we’ve fabricated an alternate reality in which we choose to live for a while.” That is all fine and dandy but where is the story? No matter how long, short or avant-garde a piece is, a clear story is needed.
In Keep Your Electric Eye On Me the audience watches Her (Madeline Best) stare into cameras, talk to herself, show her breasts, throw up white goop, roll on the floor, bite into apples and other odd non-connecting things. Not to be out done, He (Carlton Ward) stares into cameras, sits down for long periods of time, crawls across the floor, puts on makeup and other non-connecting acts.
The two characters speak for—at most—fifteen minutes out of the hour plus show. The show, created and directed by Shaun Irons and Lauren Petty moves extremely slowly. This is New York, there is only time for fast or a reasonable pace. Watching Keep Your Electric Eye On Me is like walking behind that one civilian who literally believes s/he has all the time in the world. Yes, think of trying to run through the tourists in Time Square. Twenty minutes into the production I was already over it. There were moments which peaked my interest along the way but they didn’t last due to execution.
As stated before my main issue is lack of clarity within a strong story line. The audience never truly knows whether He is a stalker who wanted to be Her or if the two were lovers in a sick twisted drug filled love. At one point it seems as though She was murdered by He, but then She returns in the following scene. The crowd is left to wonder what is going on, an in are He and She metaphorically one person?
There is being artistic and then there is complete confusion. Confusion almost never works with artistic pieces. It takes you out of the experience. “Props, elixirs, green candies, movement, image and sound” can only hold for but so long without a story. It is never made clear what the characters want. On the bright side, Best and Ward are committed to the piece.
It seems the creators spent more time worrying about visuals and completely forgot what would make their production a classic. The set by Brad Kisicki is a master piece, there are TV screens, lights and a mad scientist lab. The set was created to aid a great story but instead it is wasted.
The one thing that can be said is Keep Your Electric Eye On Me is an experience alright. An experience which will have you scratching your head as well as wondering why you spent money watching.
If one goes to watch Keep Your Electric Eye On Me —which I do not recommend—prepare for dragging actions, silence, recorded robotic talk, more silence and no story.
Keep Your Electric Eye On Me: Created and directed by Shaun Irons and Lauren Petty.
With: Madeline Best (She), Carlton Ward (He)
Brian Rogers (Original Music), Tara O’ Con (Choreography), Amy Mascena (Table Top Installation/Costumes/ Candy), Jon Harper (Lighting), Brad Kisicki (Set Design), Randi Rivera & Meredith Belis (Stage Manager), Sylvana Ottavianelli (Assistant Stage Manager), Lena Vassilou (Production Assistant) and Nicole Carroll (Arduino Programming). Keep Your Eclectic Eye On Me is playing at HERE (145 6th Avenue).