Old-Fashioned Prostitutes(A True Romance)
It’s hard to keep count of just how many times Richard Foreman, the avant-garde guru of the East Village for nearly half a century, has threatened to retire from the theater and stop making his creepy, chaotic, perplexing, dreamlike and disturbing spectacles.
Having already given up his longtime space at St. Mark’s Church, the 75-year-old Foreman is back to his old habits at the nearby Public Theater, where he will no doubt continue to frustrate any theatergoers who attempt to make sense of his antics, while amusing or boring everyone else.
His latest creation, titled “Old-Fashioned Prostitutes,” more or less involves the flirty French flapper Suzie (Alenka Kraigher), the seemingly lifeless and downbeat Samuel (Rocco Sisto) and a random guy who resembles the Michelin Man in his marshmallow-like costume.
It’s hard to distinguish “Old-Fashioned Prostitutes” from his earlier works of experimental theater, especially since they all tend to share the same trademarks: Foreman’s disembodied voice booming from loudspeakers, harsh lighting, strings hanging over the audience, young actors being moved around like mindless pawns, random musings and an unapologetic lack of narrative.
As is often the case with Foreman, he does not permit his actors to take a curtain call. After all, since his shows are essentially about him (and would only make sense to him), why let someone else take the spotlight?
At barely over an hour’s length, “Old-Fashioned Prostitutes” offers an opportunity to take in Foreman’s meticulous but baffling aesthetic without it becoming too painful.
But let’s be frank: This show is squarely for those who have always salivated over Foreman’s work and not for those uncomfortable with having no clue what’s going on. Best of luck to anyone trying him out for the first — and possibly last — time.
‘Old-Fashioned Prostitutes (A True Romance)’ plays at the Public Theater through June 2. publictheater.org.