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Promising 'Telephone' Ultimately A Disappointment

For February’s Final Friday, Fisch Haus hosted a multi-media, interpretative art installation they called Shattered Telephone. The concept is a blend of the grade-school game "Broken Telephone" and, of similar structure, the Surrealist poetic technique called "Exquisite Corpse."

Fisch Haus’ event expanded these ideas to include actors, dancers, artists, musicians, writers, filmmakers, video artists, storytellers and a stenographer for big, Michael Bay-esque creative explosions.

The first suggestion of the night launched KMUW’s Jedd Beaudoin into an impromptu tale on hot air balloons. Generally, games like Broken Telephone begin with a short, digestible about of information. Beaudoin’s story, however, clocked in at more than 2,000 words, making it feel more like Shattered Selected Shorts.

As the narrative began to flood into the gallery, the rest of the interpreters set into motion. They were grouped according to their craft, each with their own stage. When their stage was lit, they danced, played and acted until the light turned off. But the random lighting of stages made it unclear what, if anything, the artists were adding, augmenting or taking inspiration from. Games like Broken Telephone rely heavily on given parameters, and there seemed to be no guidance given.

The end narrative typed by KMUW commentator Lael Ewy tallied a mere 217 words. The story went through the entire process and we ended up with less information than what we started with. What began with such promise ended up disjointed and overloaded, so that in the end we lost more than we gained.

Credit Torin Andersen