Quantcast
‘Golem’ at Lincoln Center Festival a trippy tech warning | amNewYork

‘Golem’ at Lincoln Center Festival a trippy tech warning

Call me crazy, but I had assumed that “Golem” (being presented at Lincoln Center Festival by a London-based performance art group that calls itself 1927) was going to be an adaptation of the Jewish folktale of a giant clay creature that obeys commands written on pieces of paper and then goes on a violent spree.

Instead, this experimental and sinister work of science fiction uses the mythical Golem as a metaphor for the technological devices that increasingly consume our everyday lives and influence our opinions and actions.

In a plot that sort of resembles “Little Shop of Horrors,” Robert’s hapless and dreary life is upended by the arrival of the Golem, a bulky, primitive-looking creature that obediently performs Robert’s chores and day job. It also offers a few suggestions, like that Robert should buy a pair of shiny yellow shoes.

Not soon after, a sleeker and faster Golem 2.0 is released, which encourages Robert to take a far more aggressive attitude toward life, and soon everyone is buying the latest versions of Golem and engaging in massive conformity.

“Golem” meticulously combines five clown-like performers, booming narration, live music and film animation, leading to a wholly coordinated piece of theater that defies ordinary characterization, resembling a trippy art installation and an animated movie brought to life.

It is told in a visual style that recalls both the European avant-garde movements of the early 20th century and claymation cartoons meant for children. It’s Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis” meets “Pee-wee’s Playhouse.”

The piece makes for an unexpected counterpart to “Privacy,” a freewheeling new play at the Public Theater starring Daniel Radcliffe about the unsettling cultural and psychological implications of our dependence on iPhones. But whereas “Privacy” is intended as a warning for the present day, “Golem” is the dystopian future.

If you go

“Golem” plays through July 31 at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater. 524 W. 59th St., lincolncenterfestival.org.

More from around NYC