Mon Aug 13 2007
Photo: Carl Skutsch
Time Out Ratings :<strong>Rating: </strong>0/5
HERE; Thu 6–Sept 15
Body modification barely merits the raising of a stylishly pierced eyebrow anymore, so used are we to seeing people who have redecorated their corporeal temples trotting on the next treadmill or slinging our half-caf soy lattes. The notion of someone having a body part voluntarily removed, however, still strains the limits of our comprehension. But body integrity identity disorder, or BIID, is a genuine condition; the afflicted are known as “wannabes,” and they are reported to number in the thousands.
Removable Parts, a new musical-theater piece by singer-composer Corey Dargel, uses the symptoms and motivations of BIID as metaphors for personal dissatisfaction, emotional isolation and unorthodox desire. If some of his details are startling, surprisingly few of the impulses are oblique: “Toes” expresses an earnest wish to improve for a lover, while “Finger” mourns the loss of more than simply tactile sensation. The cycle also includes a pair of cover tunes, Lisa Germano’s “Paper Doll” and a pointedly recontextualized “All of Me” (you know the one: “Take my lips / I want to lose them”).
Dargel’s idiom is less lieder cycle than electropop cabaret, and there’s a real sophistication in the way he surrounds simple, indelible melodies with a coruscating patina of laptop glitch and echo. Pianist Kathleen Supové, a veteran multimedia performer, serves as an ideal foil, both in musical and dramaturgical respects. The show is staged by Emma Griffin, the award-winning artistic director of New York’s Salt Theater.