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A Beast/A Burden

glass half productions · Ages 18+ · world premiere · United States of America

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BENJAMIN SCHWARTZ certified reviewer June 11, 2018
So far my favorite show at the fringe this year. This is a story that is actually worth a damn to create and present. Not only because of the themes. But because a show like this helps secure an artist like Chris Burden into history. Helps him live on far beyond his life. Ben Hethcoat's portrayal of Burden was just so captivating. There's subtlety and madness surrounding his choices--which never go over the top. This is a very controlled performance. As an artist, I really connected, which manifested audibly---you know like a moment in church where you agree with what the pastor says and that uncontrolled guttural reaction of approval can't help but spew out.--I connected with a ton of the dialogue from Burden's character; especial... full review
RUSSELL EATON certified reviewer June 25, 2018
This is a fascinating biographical play covering several months in the life of artist Chris Burden. The show is a thoughtful piece raising many questions about art and how we interpret it. A strong cast brings a complicated man and his cohorts to life that is provocative and entertaining. One of my favorite plays I have seen this year.... full review
SARAH CHOI certified reviewer June 15, 2018
I’ve come across the belief in my time as a writer that in order to understand a piece of work that can be considered esoteric—in this case, an artist most famous for a striking light installation, but not necessarily by name or his extended works—that one must first be familiar with it in advance. As someone who can readily admit that “Urban Light” was my only frame of reference walking into this play, I can confirm that this philosophy is both ill-advised and incorrect as “A Beast/A Burden” proves it flat-out wrong: good writing is quite simply, good writing. You don’t need to have school-aged children to relate to “God of Carnage”, you don’t need to be young and black to feel the injustice in “Pass Over”, and you don’t need to know who... full review
LUCY GILLESPIE certified reviewer June 11, 2018
tagged as: brilliant · art · smart · 70s
Exquisite. Beautifully written, spectacular performances. Any fear I had of a stodgy, humorless, self-important Sunday morning theater experience was quickly dispelled by the opening sequence. As Ben Hethcoat--flawlessly natural as Chris Burden--dove his head into a bucket of water to "breathe water, which I believe to be a thicker, more nutritious form of oxygen.", I was incredulous. Was this guy a total idiot? And was he actually going to "breathe", or just fake it and hold his breath? And wait, was I a snob for assuming something was true just because I knew it to be true? Who did I think I was? And also how the hell was his head still underwater? It's been a REALLY long time! What if this actor died right here in front of us? And if not,... full review
ERNEST KEARNEY certified reviewer June 27, 2018
A superb show. Gold Medal. The full review at; full review
ANONYMOUS certified reviewer June 26, 2018
Sucks you right in, very enjoyable!... full review
CHARLES ZIARKO certified reviewer June 25, 2018
I thought HERCULES INSANE couldn't be topped for this year's "WOW!" factor (and it can't) but this is a contender, for a completely different reason: it's real! You might call it CHRIS BURDEN: THE WOODSTOCK YEARS, covering only the beginning of his eclectic career before he passed from an Anything-for-Attention paradigm to becoming a Mainstream Money Machine in the unpredictable Art Market. "Anything" ranges from death-defying to anti-social to merely nutty, but lookalike Ben Hethcoat makes us believe he's game for anything (and is, as we discover at the end), and a strong cast of 5 (3F/2M) supports recreations of his Performance Art. IS it "Art"? Well, that's more in the Eye of the Beholder than the Artist and this Beholder has his own ... full review
DANIEL MINUCHIN certified reviewer June 24, 2018
Definitely worth seeing. Creative and well acted. It explores the pretty outrageous conceptual performance art of Chris Burden. ((What I knew about him before seeing the show was that he had himself shot as the centerpiece of one of his works). ... full review
ANONYMOUS certified reviewer June 23, 2018
great show!... full review
JEAN MINUCHIN certified reviewer June 23, 2018
This was an interesting piece about an artist that I re-remembered once the show began. A look into the world of contemporary conceptual art, the art world in the early LA scene, and specifically Chris Burden. In this portrait a complex person is revealed, not always sympathetic but very human and striving to find meaning, to evoke reaction, and create a connection through danger and vulnerability. ... full review