written, directed & performed by Thaddeus Phillips

Performance Dates:
January 11 - February 11, 2001
January 14th & 15th, 2002
The Club

Thaddeus Phillips is an ingenious whirlwind of a performer whose solos at La MaMa have included a puppet version of "King Lear" drawn out of a suitcase and "The Tempest" while splashing in a children's swimming pool. "Lost Soles" is his saga of a tap dancer who escapes to Cuba and gets stuck there. Phillips plays seven parts and works the lights with his hands and tapping feet throughout the production. The play centers on a young tap dancer from Wyoming who, just before his premiere at Carnegie hall, escapes to Cuba following a mysterious phone call. His "shuffling off," it seems, was ill-timed: it is 1963, the beginning of the U.S. embargo. The Dancer fails to get work in casinos, as they have all been closed by Castro, and then loses his passport, making it impossible for him to return. Thirty-seven years later, the CIA sends an operative to shuffle him back. The show is set on two long dance tables which the audience sits around. As in all of Phillips' work, the set morphs and transforms into different scenes and places. Inspiration for the design was taken from the colors and designs of Cuban streets, lampposts and interiors. Video footage shot in Cuba is incorporated via a large television set amid a surreal mirrored dressing room at the back of the tables. Phillips employs various innovative and playful techniques to create atmosphere, from a remote controlled 1950s car to laundry lines which hold sheets and fans which suggest the breeze of the sea. Reviewing the original production, Francine Russo (Village Voice) wrote, "He harnesses an intuitive theatricality--and a background as a puppeteer--with ingenious use of setting, light, and props....All these tricks work to enhance what's really the main event: Phillips' reverberating feet. With a dexterity and rapidity that's dazzling, he click-clacks up and down the tables, on a grate, over open space. To the swelling strains of 'Rhapsody in Blue,' he leaps to his toes, he juts, he clatters. As a dispirited waiter, he does a spellbinding swoon with a broom and drums on plates and water glasses with his toes. Phillips taps so fast his feet are almost a blur, but each sound is as distinct and startling as the crack of a bullet."

2002 page