Against War in 360 Degrees 

The Wooster Group Installs Themselves at TBA

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"Every theater artist in TBA's history has been influenced by the Wooster Group," TBA Guest Artistic Director Cathy Edwards told me. The SoHo-based Wooster Group has been around since the 1970s, pioneering innovative, cross-disciplinary, multimedia approaches to text and to culture. (Founding members include Willem Dafoe and Spalding Gray.) The legendary company is one of the biggest gets in this year's festival—this is their first Portland show, and a major coup for Edwards.

For TBA, the Wooster Group brings to Portland 2007's There Is Still Time... Brother. It's described as an "interactive, 360-degree war film"—a film about war and bloggers and YouTube videos and "grotesquely enlarged children's toys" that unfolds in the round as one audience member controls the perspective of the entire group.

The show runs for 30 minutes, during which time the audience can come and go as they please. Impressions from 12 digital cameras are stitched together and projected on a circular viewing wall, forming a 360-degree narrative that unfolds all around the audience. The catch—and this show's particular innovation—is that a viewing window limits what segment of the film the audience can see at any given point, and audience members control the placement of the viewing window. And as for the subject matter? It's an anti-war film, according to the Wooster Group, making for a timely commentary not only on the way we order experience by imposing narratives on even the most bewildering of events, but also on how our understanding of the world is shaped by those controlling the viewing window.

Brunish Hall at PCPA, Fri Sept 10-Sat Sept 18, 4:30-8:30 pm (no show Tues Sept 14), $10

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