Poor Porco! Gonzo Porco, Ph.D., the loveable, swinish subject of Mabou Mines’ “Ecco Porco,” which premieres at P.S. 122 January 3 (through January 27), has been cruelly indicted for an unspecified crime. His future may even be worse.
Written and directed by Mabou Mines co-founder and director Lee Breuer and starring two of Mabou Mines’ most beloved actors—Frederick Neumann and Ruth Maleczech— the production traces Porco, a true Kafka victim, as he seeks support at Animations Anonymous, where his peers, including Rose The Dog and Sri Moo The Guru Cow (both of “Epidog” fame), are alternately sympathetic and prying regarding Porco’s unnamed crime.
In its rambunctious spirit, philosophy, technical wizardry, wit and superb casting, “Porco” is absolutely Mabou Mines, exemplifying the company’s 30 year mission to bridge the gap between theater and anything and everything: Religion, politics, sociology, biology, anthropology, physics, music, mime, camp, poetry and The Simpsons.
Fast and full of innuendo, “Ecco Porco” takes audiences on a Fellini-esque roller coaster ride through high and low pop culture during which Breuer provides glimpsing references to the 1950’s KGB trial of Meyerhold and the character of Marge Simpson, before swerving back to Dante’s Purgatorio, with a right hand turn into Orson Welles’s Hollywood, and beyond. Calling on a witty range of theatrical strategies—from American cartoons to Bunraku puppetry—“Ecco Porco” is a continuation of Breuer’s Animations series, which began with “The Red Horse Animation”—Mabou Mines’ first production—in 1970.
In addition to Ruth Maleczech, who plays Sri Moo Parahamsa and the voice of Rose, and Frederick Neumann in the role of Porco, the production features Karen Kandel, Terry O’Reilly, Clove Galilee, Judson Wright, Honora Fergusson, Gita Srinivasan, Maude Mitchell and Arya Shirazi. Carol Binion, Barbara Pollitt, Sarah Provost, Cathy Shaw, and Jen Wineman are the puppeteers. The original score is by Bob Telson and Eve Beglarian.