WASHINGTON theater is growing up fast, but there are ever fewer places left for our young, "experimental" performing groups to play.
One adventurous group, Theater du Jour, has tried to amend this sorry situation by building its own "performance space" from scratch. Called the Jarry (after Alfred Jarry, French pioneer of absurd theater), the small (35-seat), clean-lined space is on 14th Street, a former abandoned storefront near the Source and Studio stages.
The Jarry has opened with a performance work by George Kaperonis called "Blindness From Looking Too Hard at the Sun," a noisy, baffling but often amusing 60 minutes with a decidedly out-there sensibility. It's clearly well-performed; it's not so easy to say what it's about. But in the commendably professional combination of agile performancs, lights, sound and costuming, Theater du Jour manages to create spectacle on a small scale.
"Blindness" is a jerky merger of poetry with music and movement. The music is produced by the atonal, rhythmic saxophone and clarinet work of talented Kenneth Plant, who creates eerie contrasts of harmonics and dissonance.
The influence of unconventional wordsmiths like Samuel Beckett, William Burroughs and Laurie Anderson is apparent. Clad in unique, identity-obliterating costumes "built" by Val Taylor, performers Kaperonis and B. Stanley playfully dissect and invert and recombine words and sentences while in a variety of unlikely postures. They deliver their lines while crouched in a corner, or suspended upside down from the the four intersecting aluminum poles that make up the striking set.
On Saturday at 10 p.m., following "Blindness," the Jarry will host a "performance jam," a sort of open-mike night for local performance artists.
BLINDNESS FROM LOOKING TOO HARD AT THE SUN
-- Theater du Jour, at The Jarry (1845 14th St. NW) through December. Reservations are recommended; 462- 2774.