Posts Tagged ‘Joey Arias’

Basil Twist Camps History in Sisters Follies

Basil Twist’s “Sister’s Follies: Between Two Worlds,” commissioned for the 100th anniversary of the Abrons Playhouse, is a testament to how camp can save performance history from oblivion. Dance and theater works of yore are notoriously difficult to stage because they often look hopelessly old fashioned. But in “Sisters’ Follies,” Twist—a newly minted MacArthur Genius and a third generation puppeteer—casts Joey Arias, the celebrated drag queen chanteuse, and Julie Atlas Muz, the burlesque performance artist, to play the titular sisters: Alice and Irene Lewisohn, who founded the Playhouse in 1915. Muz and Arias are stars of satire, but they aren’t real-life divas (like the Lewisohn sister were). Under Twist’s direction, Muz and Arias often flip and dangle from wires, which divas don’t do. They prance and preen, belt and belittle each other in the jewel-box size theater, which is made spectacular through the efforts of 11 behind the scenes performers, who manipulate large and small puppets in costumes that range from camels to biblical figures. The Lewisohn’s Playhouse becomes Twist’s camp marionette theater.

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