Super Night Shot
Using four simultaneous cameras and the streets of New York as their stage, Gobsquad went on a quest to rid anonymity and create beauty from the banal. (A noble cause in NYC...) Their mission: to aid the hero's journey and facilitate intimacy and love in a city of millions.
The final task - to give the hero a woman to kiss.
Using strangers or non-actors means a kind of honesty in the participants direct response. On the night I was there (A Sunday), they were very lucky to have found someone so willing to take part in the ride. It was such a simple concept and construct. Give four people cameras, a role in the drama, tasks to be achieved throughout the hour and hopefully come together at the end of an hour with a willing participant. But how this was coordinated through mixing the sound from four different screens live, was so precise and so human. An inspiring show. It made me think of new modes for live performance. I don't think it had as a profound an impact as Kitchen (their previous show, which also performed again in NYC) had on me the previous year, but it was still innovative and exciting to be a part of.
El Pasado Es un Animal Grotesco
Human. Precise. Timing. Poetry. Whimsy. Beauty in the everyday. Life, love, mourning, loss and starting over. Of hoping and wanting another life, a new start..
Of compassion, understanding and complexity. The passing of time and the cycle of life. A precise and haunting decadent ride into the lives of five who twist and turn around and try again.
I will remember the inventiveness of form, the ways in which their spoke to each other largely through narration (and yet the show always felt active) and the simple, beautiful concept of a sundial onstage, slowly taking us through ten years of these character's lives.
It felt epic. A tale across generations. So rarely do we see the playing out of lives, who by virtue of the time signature, are connected. It didn't matter that their stories didn't meet up. It didn't matter if they took their time -that was the point. It didn't feel labored, rather it felt precise, concise. Such an inspiring piece of theater that will stay with me for a long time.
Half Straddle's Away Uniform
Isolation in a world of cues and meaning, striving for meaning, significance, intimacy..
A desolated landscape bordering on crude, attempting to find the edge where it's more alive than the mundane reality these characters exist in.
Continous moments of half tension, where it felt things should or could snap, but didn't.
I felt like a stranger in this work. I couldn't access it's full weight and I wondered why. I saw others enjoying it, understanding its nuances and relishing in the inner lives of the characters.
It reminded me of the detached characters within Julia Jarcho's A Dreamless Land. I wondered if ironic, mismatched people in a land of strange and stranger, is part of an American consciousness speaking to a younger generation who are confused, lost, lost in time and space, wanting connection, confusing lust for intimacy and responding to the US identity / debt / war crisis. I don't know. I'd be curious to hear other people's thoughts.
This was such an epic piece, so ambitious in scope and such a ride. It did feel a tad too long, but I really appreciated the playfulness, the themes explored (Dutch Trade route history and the impact of capitalism in the US alongside the economic bubble bursting - something I read a bunch about during the start of the year with Port Cities) and the stunning music by Heather Christian.
It is inspiring to see musicals that can sound different, sexy, bluesy and alive.
Young Jean Lee's An Untitled Feminist Show.
Brave. Bold. Defiant. Playful. Raw.
A huge statement made by an ensemble clearly very courageous.
At times raucous and loud, in our faces with the kind of anger that has been constrained for generations, finally let out to scream.
And at other times playful, ironic, humorous, showing the kind of games that get played out from kindergarten. - eat or be eaten, don't stray from your group and friends sticking up for friends. All of this, in the nude.
The entrance was confronting, the bodies descending down the stairs of the auditorium, all so different. It was fresh to see people in all of their glory, and all so different, yet sexy - comfortable in their own skin.
I think what they were careful to do, bar maybe one moment, was to place "sex" in the room. Naked women are just that, naked women. But the focus was not on sex, but on gender - identity and identities. So we stopped seeing the nudity and began to see just what they were doing with their bodies. And to highlight this, they all came on clothed for the bow, which felt so strange to see, as if we'd gotten used to seeing them as they are without any artifice.
Props go to Mikhael Barishnikov and the BAC for presenting the work. Coming from a Ballet background, I am so curious to know what he must've thought on seeing so many non balletic bodies dancing ballet steps on his stage, in the nude.
I went in not sure if I'd enjoy the show, only with a growing curiosity for Young Jean Lee's work. And I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed the work, admired its intent, felt enthused and excited by how provocative it was and felt like I witnessed something akin to a 1970's happening, with the potential to shift the way in which we view gender and performance for years to come.
notes from the city of stairs
I'm currently studying towards a MFA (Masters in Fine Arts) in play writing at Columbia in New York City. This page is for me to collect my thoughts, scribbles, images, ideas and inspirations over the next three years. Enjoy the rambling :-)