New Nerve Tank piece is short on dialogue, long on modern angst

The Brooklyn Paper
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This avant-garde theater group aims to set off a dirty bomb in your brain.

The group, Nerve Tank, finds the pressures of modern life so mind-bending that the actors express 21st-century anxiety though their bodies, rather than through dialogue.

The odyssey into existential angst, called “LIVE/FEED,” opens this Friday. In the piece, actors explore how the mentality of the Cold War and the War on Terror affects people at the most basic levels — without communicating with one another in a traditional fashion.

If that sounds confusing, don’t worry, that’s all part of the experience.

“We use a particular approach to texts style that is very physical in nature,” said director Melanie Armer. “It’s idea and sensation-based. We develop a physical vocabulary to express ideas.”

And the ideas under the microscope in this piece will involve some heavy lifting on the part of the audience.

“There is something to be explored in the dynamic of the individual vs. society,” said Armer. “[For example], are we demanding greater airport security? Or is it being forced upon us? We’re not exploring this in a literal way, but in an experiential way.”

To examine these issues of security, the actors use body language more than words.

“There isn’t dialogue in a conventional sense,” Armer said. “There are three people on stage but not necessarily talking to each other. … There is an entire section of dictionary definitions that have been integrated into a scene.”

Clear? Well, not really. Armer said that audiences tend to leave a little disoriented.

“The most common response we get is, ‘I didn’t understand but I enjoyed it.’ ”

Nerve Tank’s “LIVE/FEED” at the Brooklyn Lyceum [227 Fourth Ave. between Union and President streets in Park Slope, (718) 857-4816] through May 29. Tickets are $18.

Updated 5:18 pm, July 9, 2018
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