Performance piece ‘Patterns’ confuses 

San Francisco performance artist Amy Munz clearly has a lot of energy, ideas and chutzpah — but they don’t add up in “Patterns,” her world-premiere solo piece onstage in The City.

Presented at The New Stage, Inc., a spiffy new space at International High School on Page Street, the show — which juxtaposes videos on three large screens with Munz’s interpretations of eight female characters — offers a confusing jumble of impressions. The lack of clarity and cohesion makes for a jarring experience at first, but one that’s dull by the 84-minute presentation’s end.

Supposedly about love and relationships (according to the program), “Patterns” isn’t as provocative as Munz, 23, seemingly wants it to be.

It begins with video images of flowers projected on wall-sized screens, one at the backdrop of the stage, and one on each side, flanking the audience. Munz, wearing a dark jumpsuit, enters, seeming to be a child frenetically running across the expansive, mostly bare stage. (There’s one wooden chair and a few books on the floor.)

Then her character changes; it’s a woman rhapsodizing about a man named Frank.

As the show proceeds, a few — but not all — of the characters’ names flash on the back screen: Ava, Abigal and Amat, who apparently is a butcher’s daughter. But with no setup and a barrage of stream-of-consciousness-like monologues and dialogues, it’s never quite clear who they’re are addressing, or even who they are. Neither their words, nor feelings, register.

Meanwhile, dozens, perhaps hundreds, of pictures flicker by on the screens. The videos, also created by Munz, depict varied things: nature scenes with grassy fields and water, meat, an ice skater, romping dogs, sheep being sheared, airplanes, the front windshield of a moving vehicle looking out into a road at night, and humans, including an old woman, a man (Daniel Kaplan) the stage character talks to, and even herself.

Directed by Henry Godinez, Munz does manage to have a bold stage presence and convey emotion. But her messages — even those she invites audiences to interpret for themselves — don’t connect. For the patron, it’s difficult to find the patterns in “Patterns.”



Where: Dennis Gallagher Arts Pavilion, International High School, 66 Page St., S.F.

When: 8 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays; closes Aug. 16

Tickets: $30

Contact: (800) 838-3006,

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Leslie Katz

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