Best New Theater Company: Nimblest newbies

Ragged Wing Ensemble

While Splinters … and Other F-words, its recent interpretation of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen,” was a bit muddled, you still have to give Ragged Wing Ensemble props for fearlessness. One of the exciting new companies to open in the East Bay in the past couple years (another being the long-overdue queercentric theatre Q), Ragged Wing fills a gaping hole in the East Bay theater scene with its intensely physical style. The group’s debut show, The Serpent, was surprisingly assured and powerful for a new company, and Splinters had a lot of life and potential. Founded by alumni of some of the best physical and/or ritual theater training in the country, Ragged Wing uses exaggerated movement and dance, puppets, and masks to create dreamlike, layered productions that speak to timeless themes in a modern way. Love, politics, free will, commitment, responsibility: The work may be low-budget, but there’s nothing half-assed about it. It will be interesting to see how the company’s work will develop and deepen.

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