In our TBA blog comments a few days ago, I picked on Mexican company Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol a bit for their sloppy use of supertitles. That show was translated directly from its original language, where Japanese performance troupe Cheltfisch's Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner, and the Farewell Speech felt adapted.
Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner, and the Farewell Speech is three linked vignettes, all set in an office, that use the repetition of movement and language to lampoon contemporary Japanese office culture (and, presumably, the society-wide implications of a large, homogenous white-collar workforce). It's a show in which small matters take on overlarge significance; in which the petty concerns of the office become life-defining constraints. The show is stylish and at times funny, though I was most interested in how well the show's translation from Japanese was handled. The supertitles included humorous explanatory asides (Wikipedia was invoked to explain several references) and the show's heavy reliance on repetition meant that there was plenty of time to take in both the movement and the language. It made a sharp contrast to the aforementioned Lagartijas show, where I always felt a step behind the wordy script.
That being said, though, this is one of those shows that next year I will have forgotten I saw. One of the dangers of TBA's dense programming is that smaller, less flashy shows like this one are apt to get lost in the shuffle. It's a diverting hour, to be sure, but probably not an essential one. There's one more show tonight.
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