Animal

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2003/2004

2003/2004

“What part of ourselves must we brutalize to reach happiness? On an $84 vision quest, Jeff wades through his subconscious with Eugene—his wraithlike spirit guide--gradually forcing his own feelings of worthlessness and self-hatred onto the little creature.  Kevin Augustine's masterful puppetry and pulsating stage presence expose the under-belly of the mental health community, where institutions ask us to surrender anything feral, delicate, and alive to “the system.”” 


“The genius of this extraordinary artist is to endow his amazing creations with something very near the stuff of humanity in a way that's eerily almost-miraculous.“It's a disturbing, unsettling, and sad journey that Augustine takes us on: his preoccupations—macabre, surreal—jolt us and tug at our emotions. Yet the very definition of life, and what makes it worth living, is at the core of Animal. The images that Augustine creates will haunt you for days. I don't know anybody who is doing theatre quite like this. This is indisputably a work of theatre that demands to be experienced.” (excerpted)


“They may be puppets, but do not confuse these cloth creations with Kermit, Big Bird or Snuffy. While Muppets struggle with the alphabet, Animal addresses the media’s effect on the human soul and the true meaning of happiness. Creator Kevin Augustine successfully designs a surreal netherworld with macabre puppets that become more human than their puppeteers and have the power to evoke authentic empathy from the audience.”


Martin Denton

Martin Denton

Augustine's artistry as actor/puppet handler never fails to astonish me; he's also a fine playwright, and he's done a masterful job excerpting this story of a shaman-in-training for whom a genetically altered "assistant" is being created in a brutal, futuristic cloning lab. Augustine's subject is almost always the terrifying edges of existence and creation, and in Animal he hypothesizes a couple of different kinds of hell from which his characters seem destined never to be quite able to escape. What's on view here is 25 minutes of utter genius—gorgeous and scary and heartbreaking. It will almost certainly whet your appetite for the entire show, which returns to HERE briefly in October. Meanwhile, it makes for a stunning conclusion to a very successful and exciting evening at New York's newest theatre festival.”