A review of A Clockwork Orange REMIXED is not possible. This impossibility results from the fact that a review is supposed to make a judgment; it is supposed to declare, with a reasonable amount of explanation, if a presented work of art sucks or succeeds. Because there is no other reason for a review to be in the world, REMIXED spends an hour and a half doing everything it can to undermine that raison d'être. It's as though a lion (the review) were chasing through the open veldt what is at first a zebra (the art object). Then, a few meters on, the zebra suddenly changes into a giraffe; confused, the lion pauses, then resumes the chase. A quick dash later, the strange trick happens again: The giraffe now becomes a hyena. By the time the lion gets to the meat, it has no idea what it's eating and so it can't roar if it's good or bad.
That's the problem with REMIXED. It's at first a visual mix of Stanley Kubrick's famous and controversial film A Clockwork Orange. (This section is actually interesting, because different parts of the film are projected on cotton sheets that hang in front of the seats, and so the distorted, edited, redacted, reformulated—but always disturbing—images of Kubrick's bad boys and fallen future world are right there in front of the audience.) Then it's a play happening behind the remixed movie. (This section is also interesting because the physicality of theater is seen through a transparent spectacle of cinema—here we see, once and for all, that actual human bodies have far less magic, charm, and mystery than the images of human bodies.) Then it's a staged performance of an "inverted world" take on the fate of Alex de Large, the antihero of the movie and the novel. (The movie screens are now gone and we are left with just a bare and bad play.) Then it's a play experimenting with turntablism. (This sort of works and then crumbles.) Then it's a brief lecture on film and literary theory. (A critic examines the differences between Burgess's text and Kubrick's film.) Then there's Hollywood gossip, a quick talk show, a short documentary about the making of REMIX, a burst of slapstick comedy, a sudden poem, an unfunny act of sacrilege, and the blast of a party. Don't even try to make sense of it, just get up off your seat and dance.
Brought to the stage by the Seattle School, the winners of The Stranger's 2004 Genius Award for an organization, REMIX was at times almost beyond terrible, at other times almost beyond funny, and the creators were well aware of the fact that when the play sucked, it really sucked, and when it succeeded, it really succeeded (sometimes the laughter from the audience was so loud and uncontrolled you felt like you were in a madhouse). And, most importantly, the creators of REMIX made no effort to separate the bad of it from the good, but instead mixed it all up and left it like that.
After the abrupt ending of the performance, I ran into the film critic John Hartl and book critic Michael Upchurch, two notable figures in our arts community. We were standing at the exit. We were confused. The film critic said to the book critic and me: "Is it over yet? I'm not sure if it's over. I heard them say something about a second act." I couldn't confirm this, nor could the book critic. I went back into Open Circle's theater and had a quick look around: it looked dead. While returning to the exit, I noticed one of the actors, or was it the DJ? (or was he Jesus?), had changed into regular clothes—but this change could have been a costume for a scene in the mysterious part two of REMIX.
The critics and everybody else left the theater not knowing if the play had ended. Nor did any of us dare say if what we had seen deserved a yea or nay. How in the world could you make any judgment about such a mess, such a joke, such a nihilistic rush of disordered images, words, theory, and pop music. What we saw in that theater was the grin of the invisible Cheshire cat.