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New York Times, June 11, 2015

In the mid-1970s, Samuel Beckett and Jasper Johncollaborated on a book, although “collaborated” is perhaps too strong a word, and “book” may not cut it, either….Beckett translated the texts, a collection he titled “Foirades,” from French into English, calling them “Fizzles.” A limited edition of 250 copies was released in 1976, with Beckett’s and Mr. Johns’s signatures on the heavy handmade pages and with bright original lithographs as end leaves, all presented in a deluxe tasseled box.

"Hand Foot Fizzle Face,” which opens next Friday at Jack, a performance space in Clinton Hill in Brooklyn, is an exploration of how — or if — art resonates and connects. It includes music, dance and video along with Beckett’s ambiguous prose, which was never intended to be staged…. In 2012, Tara Ahmadinejad, then studying for a master of fine arts in theater directing at Columbia University, came across a brief description of the book in a class on Beckett. She shared this with her theater collective Piehole, known for multimedia and experimental work.…

“We just became obsessed,” she said. “You’re looking at it like, these things mean something together. But they’re just out of grasp. It never adds up.” …Which didn’t stop Piehole from creating a play about it. "Hand Foot Fizzle Face,” which opens next Friday at Jack, a performance space in Clinton Hill in Brooklyn,… As much as the book itself, Piehole’s attempt to comprehend “Foirades/Fizzles” forms the basis for “Hand Foot Fizzle Face.” If no conclusions are drawn — if this effort, too, peters out in a way — well, so be it. “We’re really trying to draw attention to this idea of fizzling and in that same way, the audience’s attention can fizzle, as well,” Ms. Ahmadinejad said. (Beckett, a connoisseur of failure, might approve.) …At the start of the play, a computerized voice announces: “Story takes a back seat here. In lieu of plot, there are a series of attempts. In lieu of characters, there are Fizzles…. The Fizzles barely have back stories. Emily Jon Mitchell, a 76-year-old journalist turned actress who performed in a play of Ms. Ahmadinejad’s at Columbia, plays Fizzle Number 5.

“I’m the only one who really talks about the past in a meaningful way, and the future,” she said. “It reminds me a lot of ‘Krapp’s Last Tape,’ reviewing his life,” she added, referring to the character in Beckett’s 1958 play.

New York Times review of Hand Foot Fizzle, June 20, 2015

Ms. Ahmadinejad offers a few moments of unexpected beauty and others of gratifying weirdness. There’s a lot of running and jumping and stark lighting and odd videography, though the actual Beckett text is almost always a lull in the action. The actors speak the recursive, perplexing lines quickly, illuminating little. (A final “Fizzle,” the most intelligible, is performed by a veteran actress, Emily Jon Mitchell).

From Flavorwire.com, July 1, 2015

Piehole’s Hand Foot Fizzle

Going into a play titled Hand Foot Fizzle Face , it’s hard to know what to expect. And, it turns out, coming out of a play titled Hand Foot Fizzle Face, it’s also hard to know exactly what you experienced. Performance collective Piehole’s experimental play at JACK in Clinton Hill (whose run unfortunately ended last week) is an adaptation of Samuel Beckett and Jasper John’s rare ($30,000 a copy rare) collaborative book, Foirades/Fizzles, a collection of etchings and five prose pieces referred to as “fizzles” — which the play explains, like life, start with a certain momentum and keep going until they---fizzle. … The play’s non-characters are also called “fizzles” and clumsily dance around, like children doing show-and-tell, but instead with Beckett’s mercilessly bleak and spare prose (they’re even backed by comically rudimentary demonstrations — filmed live — on a projector). The performances here are exquisite, especially that of Emily Jon Mitchell, who plays an elderly “fizzle” sitting in a chair for most of the production, before the live-filmed demonstration eerily focuses on her body, crawling up to her neck, at which point she ends the play with an unexpectedly direct monologue.

— Moze Halperin, Associate Editor

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