Loopy for Lupa: Krystian Lupa's Kalkwerk at the Lincoln Center Festival

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Audience members stumbling out of Krystian Lupa's Kalkwerk looked one of two ways—either pale, depressed and irritated, or simply pale and depressed. Even for those who dig Lupa's meticulous investigations into human creativity and madness (and I count myself among them), a Lupa show requires the marathon spirit and an imperviousness to other people's ennui. And so I know you're thinking, Hooray? Because suddenly it strikes me that I'm not doing a great job of talking you into this show. Let me be clear: I really like Kalkwerk. As an atmospheric study alone (rich with genuinely terrifying sound and a set caught between Alexandra Exter and Terry Gilliam), it's a game-changer. As a theatrical adaptation of the Thomas Bernhard novel, it's chillingly on-target. But, no, it's not a walk in the park. So think of Kalkwerk's blighted Beckettian gloom as a nice complement to your summer entertainment calendar. Not everything can be cherry lipgloss and thinly veiled racism (hi, Transformers!), or an epic on the sweetness of human memory (we're looking at you, Ariane). Lincoln Center Festival knows that sometimes, you've got to get some grit in your festival, and then spend four long hours weeping it out.

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