Walking out of Dayna Hanson's Gloria's Cause last night, I had a thought that Patrick Alan Coleman vocalized before I could get a word in edge-wise. "This is one of the TBA shows that I'm going to tell friends to go see. When they ask me: 'what's good?', 'what is worth spending some cash on?' I'll point them to this." Never mind that our excitable food writer was already few vodka-sodas into his night, or that he may be the most avid TBA supporter on staff. He's right. This is a TBA show not worth missing, and Dayna Hanson is an artist to keep your eye on.
Here is the text I sent to my friend after Gloria's Cause:
I'm glad you decided not to come—you would have HATED that.
I agree that Dayna Hanson is worth watching. Gloria's Cause had a few excellent gags. I liked the bald eagle and I liked animatronic George Washington. The ensemble's youth, energy, and general hipster aesthetic reminded me of Portland's Hand2Mouth Theater, which is a good thing. The difference between Hand2Mouth's work and this show, however, is that with Hand2Mouth, there is always a clear sense that the ensemble is trying to communicate with the audience—just maybe in a different language than we're used to. I did not often feel as though Gloria's Cause was trying to communicate. I felt as though it was throwing things at the audience to see what stuck. I did not understand the ideas at play and I did not understand how the parts fit together. (Revisiting our national origin myth—okay, why?) Is this the nature of a workshop performance? Is it unfair to critique a show that audiences were asked to pay full festival prices for because it is a "workshop"? Is it enough to play loud music while a hot girl dances around in her underwear and call it "spectacle"? Am I being unfairly dismissive? Discuss.