Jessica Anne is a tactful truth-teller, performance artist and oathbreaker; Mike Hamilton is the best actor she knows. “Mike Mother” is ninety minutes of being locked in a room with them while you learn a lot about a lot. Yet everything about “Mike Mother” is tactically obscured through a lens of fiction, a nonfiction fog or a literal fog.
Between self-professedly phony water ballets and games of GoldenEye, Jessica Anne knows how to avoid talking about the problem while giving you exactly what she needs to keep you engaged. Early on she challenges herself to avoid expressionistic language, the kind that pops like blood blisters. Instead she will simply state the facts. She pokes fun at the Neo-Futurists while using “Mike Mother” and “Night Mother” to open up the truth about…Well, that’s not mine to share.
“Mike Mother” is an informal deconstruction of fiction’s role in connecting us to real life. It is an active criticism of theatrical form. “Mike Mother” is an autobiography that openly acknowledges the artifice and editorial in all acts of creation and story. Jessica and Mike sometimes retreat into the ruse but sometimes they fly in the face of it, screaming “WE DON’T CARE!” Jessica Anne’s language is a gun and Mike Hamilton is a great friend.
“Mike Mother” is funny. “Mike Mother” is sentimental but not saccharine. In the lobby, clips of carrion sitcoms play. “Mike Mother” ostensibly breaks promises, but I trust it. It reminds us of the continuity of stories and the lives around them. “Mike Mother” is not an easy experience, but it’s the challenges that make us better.
After “Mike Mother,” I walked out and found myself holding the muslin cloth given to the audience. At home, a Super Ball rolled out of my bag and I set it on my desk alongside the cloth. I’m leaving them there until I have the chance to return them. Until I have to remember that I’m still locked in that room with “Mike Mother.” (Jay Van Ort)
The Neo-Futurists, 5153 North Ashland, (773)878-4557, neofuturists.org, $10-$20 with pay-what-you-can tickets available on Thursdays. Through June 4.