The Flatiron Hex at Dixon Place
According to James Godwin and the puppet metropolis of The Flatiron Hex, the Apocalypse (aka “The Storm”) is not without its fun. The futuristic puppet epic never downplays the End of Days, an annual event in NYORG, but provides it with an irresistible infusion of technology and hocus-pocus.
Godwin shares the role of Wylie with his unstrung lookalike marionette. He also provides the film noir-inspired voiceover. The deadpan narration fits this crazy sci-fi perfectly. Wylie is a professional Shaman with the official job title of Plumber: the new NYORG needs ancient practices to keep new ones intact. With another Storm on its way, Wylie administers to his friend SAM the Sentient Algorithmic Mainframe housed in the Flatiron Building. SAM, a pseudo fox (or dog, either works) pieced together with Popsicle sticks, wires and indeterminate goo, succumbs to a mysterious virus (complete with coughing, etc), leaving Wylie on the run.
James Godwin is the only human onstage but he in never alone. To save NYORG, Wylie confronts the conjoined mayoral puppet couple (she looks like Anna Wintour, he an extra from De Palma’s Scarface with Christopher Walken’s voice), his dead sorceress mother in her holographic and marionette forms, and The Tongue, a gangster running for mayor. The Tongue has two distinct shapes. As a shadow puppet, he resembles a bodega cat on steroids and as a table-sized paper mache, a red, furry tongue with eyes.
If the bodega cat and a sandwich from the Carnegie Deli are worthy of evolving, so is an urban legend. Wylie also meets up with Queen Rat. She is a marionette whose long legs, tail and ears more alluring than menacing – but she everything about her is sharp.
The “diss” in Flatiron Hex’s dystopia is literal. Not only is this in SAM’s name (“Sam I am” gets a nod too) or Wylie’s namesake. the existential relentless Coyote, but also that the “key” to saving the city is a real key – and in an incident with a thumb drive best left being the surprise it is. The Rat Queen rules the Underworld…the NYORG sewer system. And with all the otherworldliness and outstanding multidisciplinary theatrics going on, “surreal” is uttered only once.
The Flatiron Hex has a lot of the familiar, but is ultimately something utterly original and silly.
Photos: The Flatiron Hex
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