The Tricklock Company is a seminal Albuquerque theater institution, and anyone who professes to love theater but has not yet experienced a Tricklock show needs to get moving. Trickock does original work, often devised by the ensemble under the direction of one its members. If you are interested in theater of startling originality, then you need to see their latest production, “The Keep.”
Conceived and directed by Claudia Heu, “The Keep” is an audience interactive, on-site production, meaning that to see the show you must go to the Tricklock performance space but once there you are escorted to an undisclosed location, and you will be an integral part of the experience, helping to determine the course the show takes on that particular evening.
The audience is split into three groups of seven, each sharing a table, complete with bread and wine. Each audience member is then provided with dossiers of the eight inmates of “The Keep.” These troubled souls have withdrawn from a harsh and unforgiving world, and throughout the evening you will slowly get to know who they are and why they are there, not only through reading their dossiers, but more importantly through private one-on-one interaction in their rooms. Therefore the show is largely improvised, since you can ask questions and there is no telling what direction the tête-à-tête will take. At the end of the evening you will get to vote for who you think is most equipped to re-enter the world outside.
But here is the catch. You will only have a chance to talk privately with three of the eight inmates, so your knowledge will be disproportionate. Your perception of the other five will come through their dossiers, through a final statement that each inmate is allowed to make at the end (they are given sometimes two minutes, sometimes three, and are sometimes brusquely cut off almost immediately), and through a bizarre tour through the space, observing each individual in his or her room. This is very revealing as each room is idiosyncratically designed by its occupant, and clearly reflects each individual psyche. This voyeuristic act reminded me of Kafka’s “A Hunger Artist,” as these pariahs are put on display for the “normal” to gawk at and judge.