Blood and Mercury, presented by Inner Circle Theater Company.
At the Auction House in Ojai, Sunday, August 27. Shows through
September 3.

Reviewed by Sara Barbour

BloodandMercurtyartforSBInd.gifIt’s easy to drive by the tiny Auction
House in Ojai a dozen times or more without realizing it’s there.
Even with eyes peeled and map in hand, it is difficult to identify
the unimposing square building. Beyond the ticket table, rows of
porcelain dolls and mounted antelope heads await the building’s
return to its ordinary function as a working auction house. But,
last Sunday, nestled in among objects stored for future sale, I
found the intimate set for Jewels Eubanks’s Blood and Mercury, the
latest adventurous production from Inner Circle Theater

Past the black curtains that separate the Auction House entryway
from its stage, a seemingly timeless journey of stimulating theater
and music begins. A reverie of lights, movement, and impressive
guitar and vocals create the vibrant backdrop for a series of
physical and verbal exchanges that are all the more striking for
their unconventionality.

The play does fine without a linear plot, yet manages
nonetheless — perhaps in part because of its comfortably loose
structure—to conjure that mysterious and elusive quality which
causes us to be moved. Crafted with the intention to “explore the
boundaries of what theater can be,” this experimental musical
weaves dance and monologue into the evolution of the play itself­
and into the struggle of its creators to grasp the meaning of
theater — and life — in all its various forms. Once inside the
pulsating womb of red lights and throbbing bass that Inner Circle
has made of the auction house, the audience gradually becomes aware
that Blood and Mercury is not merely a single piece of theater, but
rather the meshing together of lives both fictional and
real — offering a deeply emotional experience for everyone in the
room that works on many, often probing levels.

Yet this is not to say that I understood all of them. I was
confused at times, and I’m certain that at least some aspects of
the production eluded me. But the moments of piercing
clarity — sudden epiphanies, bursts of raw and uncovered
truth — more than made up for the struggle with confusion. Watching
Blood and Mercury is a bit like stumbling into a dream: undeniably
strange at times, strikingly beautiful at others, but somehow, in
that way which we can never quite explain, coming together to make
perfect sense.


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.