Top 10 Spontaneous Catharses and Other Performance Effects of 2005

'Chronicle' theatre writer Heather Barfield Cole names her 10 favorite performing arts experiences of 2005

<i>Orion</i>
Orion

1) Philip Glass Ensemble: Orion (UT Performing Arts Center) A sensual and majestic listening experience of a lifetime culminated in a sophisticated and harmonious poem on peace and human justice.

2) Match-Play (Rude Mechanicals) Fanciful homage to the active body, multidimensional movement, emblematic urges, and hypnotic images revealed crafty minds at work that control flames on the tip of unpredictable matches.

3) Charlotte's Web (Scottish Rite Children's Theatre) An afternoon inside the ornate luxury of the Scottish Rite Theatre – with dozens of children, a large spiderweb, good storytelling, big costumes, and a pink pig wearing spectacles – looms large in memory.

4) hOle (ethos) Exhilarating tension exploded into hot relief as a giant tree effigy burned in high, open-air flames to conclude a mock shamanistic episodic performance.

5) Red, White and Tuna (Greater Tuna Productions) Admirably smitten and jolted with bolts of laughter as Jaston Williams and Joe Sears transformed themselves into personas that hit too close to home for this Texas lady.

6) Single Wet Female (Rude Mechanicals' "Throws Like a Girl" series) Marga Gomez and Carmelita Tropicana flirted with gender and obsession with faux-thriller panache. Delightful tromp and tramp in giggleland with political undertones.

7) Holes Before Bedtime (Rubber Repertory) Actors in underwear, hidden horrors of incest, and anus painting backdrop? Rubber Repertory prevail as brave soldiers in surreal and symbolic theater.

8) Twelfth Night (Actors From the London Stage/UT English Department) Beyond crisp precision of delivery, intent, and focus, actors orchestrated the Bard's situational wit, humanistic depth, and infatuated frivolity by means of umbrellas, coats, and hats.

9) La Putain Avec Les Fleurs (RoHo Productions) New Austin group mystically eluded the ordinary through musical and acrobatic luring into a clown's melancholic yet Buddhist search for meaning. The centerpiece was a large trunk endlessly full of transitional scenic marvels.

10) Twilight: Los Angeles 1992 (ProArts Collective) L.A. riots as perceived through interviews conducted by character-weaver Anna Deveare Smith and performed here with a dedicated cast who offered traces of immaculately nuanced performances.

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