I'm Going to Make a Small Incision Behind Your Ear to Check and See if You're Actually Human

Presented in a different order every night determined by an audience lottery. The mayhem and panic-filled plot included high-energy dance numbers, possible alien invasion, a blindfolded wrestling match, scenes from the TV show “V”, a lizard costume, true on the spot confessions, and numerous attempts to force actual emotions out of the performers in real time, right in front of the audience. The various segments were not only performed in a random order every night, but who from the ensemble performed each scene was decided on the spot by the performers themselves.

2011 The Bushwick Starr, NYC
2011 Workshop Australian Circus & Phyisical Theatre Association, Sydney
Dance / Theater / Chance Operation based in part on the televsion series “V”.

A contest involving swigs of whiskey forms one section of Witness Relocation’s “I’m Going to Make a Small Incision Behind Your Ear to Check and See if You’re Actually Human.” This is called “Worst Whiskey Contest”; a brief journalistic investigation on opening night last week at the Bushwick Starr unearthed that the title comes from the quality of the alcohol (Philadelphia, $9.99 a liter, for those connoisseurs of economy out there).
Dan Safer, who directed and choreographed “I’m Going,” has an abiding love of terrible source material, be it rotgut or the television show “V,” whose faithfully reproduced scenes also feature prominently in this roughly 50-minute work. And he’s a structure geek: games, chance procedure, regulated improvisation. The resulting collision is a typically rowdy Witness Relocation mash-up of rules and ridiculousness: great fun, stupid fun and great stupidity, punctuated by fleeting breakthroughs into surprisingly personal revelations from a game cast of seven, clad in variously tailored coveralls by Deb O. (There are also blindfolds and lizard masks.)

“I’m Going” consists of more than 30 segments (“Four Random Solos,” “Hits/Assassin Café,” “Faster/Slower,” “Welcome to the Show” among them), performed in random order by means of labeled Ping-Pong balls fished from a bucket by audience members. Last week, for example, “Curtain Call” came midway through the show; one audience member stood. There is no flow here, and no pretense of flow, just the dogged, real-time application of compositional tools. The performers roll the dice, and repeat; the viewers watch them flex, sweat, fail and succeed.

On opening night, success — which is sometimes simply a way of describing an interesting failure — was more likely in segments enacted by Witness Relocation veterans (though Emily Davis , not a regular company member, was also a delight). Mike Mikos in particular managed a bracing vulnerability, whether rubbing onion juice into his eyes (yes, really) in a section that called for the performers to make themselves cry, or playing a physical game of endurance with a merciless interlocutor. No incision necessary; he is never less than human, something that isn’t always easy for actors to be.
— Claudia LaRocco, New York Times
The vision of a frog-costumed woman wrestling her blindfolded scene partner is pretty out of this world.
— The Village Voice