FRINGE 2018 REVIEW: 'Forealism Tribe Origins'

A stimulating mash-up of music, projection art and dance

click to enlarge "Forealism Tribe Origins" - Photo: Matt Steffen
Photo: Matt Steffen
"Forealism Tribe Origins"

This one’s for the Fringe: Cincinnati’s own Forealism Tribe has brought its unique brand of performance art to the Fringe stage in a new work, Forealism Tribe Origins, presented at Know Theatre.

A stimulating mash-up of music, projection art and dance, Origins follows the Tribe as it first materializes, arrives on Earth, goes to the beach, battles the evil forces of ‘They’ and ‘Them,’ and ultimately throws a giant interdimensional dance party, to which everyone is invited. Forealism Tribe describes itself as “a group of inter-dimensional artists and explorers who use their Light Ship to view, learn and participate in human culture and media.” That description might be baffling, but Origins is nevertheless a truly one-of-a-kind Fringe experience.

A multimedia spectacle, the plot of Origins is clearly secondary to the experience of the performance. The show features mind-bending projections created by the very talented Mike Wiley of Phase Melt Digital, which take over the back wall of Know’s upstairs stage. Throughout the production’s 50-minute performance, the projected images flicker, fade, dissolve and fold as heavy-on-the-synth Techno music pulses non-stop. Forealism Tribe’s featured performers, identified in the program only as Star Power, Soul Force, Beast Mode and Black Ram, dance and move in front of the projections while wearing full-body costumes and head-covering masks. Made entirely of scraps of shiny material, reminiscent of tin foil but more flexible, their suits and headpieces catch the light as the Tribe grooves onstage, emphasizing the show’s Technicolor lighting design.

Forealism Tribe has a specific aesthetic and mythology that shape and inform every detail of their show. Just a bit too long, the show holds up as a worthwhile stage experiment, although it might be even more at home as an art museum installation. An immersive and sensory Fringe experience, Origins is a disco nightclub on an alien planet, a strange spin around a psychedelic roller rink. 

The Cincinnati Fringe Festival runs through June 10. Find showtimes, tickets and more info here.