In Performance

In Performance: Breaking the Waves (Prototype Festival)

Prototype Festival Breaking the Waves Missy Mazzoli & Royce Vavrek (USA) NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts 566 LaGuardia Place January 6-9 Based on Lars Von Trier’s 1996 film of the same name, the new opera Breaking the Waves offers a grand showcase for the soprano Kiera Duffy. Duffy delivers a powerhouse performance as Bess McNeill, an unstable, lovestruck girl in a religious seaside town. Von Trier’s story is a bleak one. After her beloved husband is paralyzed, Bess agrees to his demands that she have sex with other men and describe the encounters to him. Her increasing degradation, mistreatment and eventual murder at the hands of the townsmen is depicted as a kind of selfless martyrdom, with various characters continually referring to her “goodness” and “golden heart.” It ...

In Performance – Lisa Clair, What’s YOUR Problem? (SFX)

Lisa Clair What’s YOUR Problem? // A Deep Space Lounge Act January 6th at 8pm SFX The Wild Project 195 E 3rd St Once Lisa Clair went deaf in one ear. But did it mean she had a disease, or was it a sign of alien invasion? Clair explores both options and more in “What’s YOUR Problem?” a space-oriented cabaret that features personal stories, takes on classic sci-fi movie scenes, and songs of all sorts. Fantastical costumes and a set wonderfully committed to space-age gold and silver (even Clair’s water bottle was wrapped in aluminum foil to fit in) immediately put us in another world. The impressive musical stylings of performer-composer Brian McCorkle underscore Clair as she speaks and sings about medical trauma with confidence and grace. Special guest Molly Pop...

In Performance: Anatomy Theater (Prototype 2017)

Anatomy Theater (Prototype 2017) New York City Premiere January 7, 8 and 10-14 at 8 PM Composer: David Lang Librettists: Mark Dion & David Lang Director: Bob McGrath Conductor: Christopher Rountree It is sometime in the nineteenth century, somewhere in the western hemisphere. Upon entering the theater I am declared a “surgeon” and led to a lantern-lit holding room where other so-called surgeons and I are served hot sausages (vegetarian options available) and cold beer in aluminum steins. “You don’t want to attend a hanging on an empty stomach!” quips the woman in period dress who slathers mustard on my veggie dog. The surgeons mingle. A drum sounds a militaristic beat and from the dust there appears a hulking, hooded male figure. He violently drags a woman in rags through the crowd. We...

In Performance – Yehuda Duenyas, CVRTAIN (COIL 2017)

Yehuda Duenyas CVRTAIN January 3 5-7pm January 4-6 12-6pm January 10-15 12-6pm COIL 2017 151 Gallery 132 West 18th St CVRTAIN Employee: Have you ever had a VR experience before? Me: Not really. CVRTAIN Employee: It’s okay. This was my first, too. As the above exchange illustrates, the people working at CVRTAIN are extremely nice. They welcome you in, explain what’s going to happen, and guide you around like you’re a star. And really, you are. CVRTAIN is a VR experience in which you put on a headset and stand center stage in a huge theater in front of an audience of thousands. The theater and audience are virtual, but your actions, aided by two sensors that act as hands, produce seemingly real responses. A curtsey for the audience – nothing. A rousing wave of the hand – thunderous applause....

In Performance: Jen Rosenblit, Clap Hands (American Realness 2017)

CLAP HANDS Jen Rosenblit Jan 6-10, 2017 Abrons Arts Center, Experimental Theater Metal bleachers line the walls of the Abrons Experimental Theater at the top of Clap Hands, the latest movement-text mashup from creator Jen Rosenblit. With only a breath of separation between audience and performers, and bathed in designer Elliott Jenetopulos’s diffuse white light, the room is part theater, part gym, part research laboratory. Four performers enter the space and meet our gazes, taking in our presence with little affect or expectation; costumes suggest a boxer (Rosenblit), a fencer (Effie Bowen), a squash player (Admanda Kobilka), and a stage technician (Alexia Welch, aptly credited for “supportive performance”), but any associations with sports are swiftly de-centered by Rosenblit’s fractured ...

In Performance: Trajal Harrell, Twenty Looks…(S) (American Realness)

American Realness Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at The Judson Church (S) Trajal Harrell (USA) Abrons Arts Center, Playhouse 466 Grand St January 6-10 The stage of the Abrons Playhouse has been transformed into a runway, a black strip running down the center of a white rectangle. There is an informal but buzzy vibe as the sold-out audience climbs the stairs onto the stage and takes its place on three sides of the runway. Are we attending a fashion show, a social event, an artistic performance? The space begins to articulate the intentions of Trajal Harrell’s solo, a remounting of the first work in his Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at The Judson Church series. Further guidance is provided by a leaflet that Harrell himself hands out at the beginning of the performance, which lists the t...

In Performance: Karol Tyminski, This Is A Musical (American Realness)

American Realness This is a musical Karol Tyminski (Poland) Abrons Arts Center, Underground Theater 466 Grand St January 6-10 Karol Tyminski’s searing This is a musical offers up the queer body as a site of pleasure, trauma, and defiance. Tyminski begins by eliciting a variety of sounds from his body, slamming his back, legs, and hands against the floor to produce an array of thuds, slaps, and violent exhalations. Soon he employs a microphone and a sampler to amplify and loop these noises, the manipulation of his body providing an ever-building electronic score. This manipulation becomes increasingly sensual: at one point he drops his shorts, pulls up his shirt, and rubs the microphone slowly up and down the length of his body. And the sensuality becomes increasingly provocative, inviting ...

In Performance – Britt Hatzius, Blind Cinema (COIL 2017)

Britt Hatzius Blind Cinema January 9-12, 5:30pm COIL SVA Theatre 333 West 23rd Street, New York “It’s white. Nothing is happening… Still nothing is happening…” a high, breathy voice begins to whisper through frequent  “ums” and pauses into a black funnel pressed against my ear. This is how Britt Hatzius’ brilliant performance piece, Blind Cinema begins. The experience which has participants blindfolded in the seats of a cinema while school children sit behind and describe the film projected on the theatre’s screen, forces it’s audience to face the limits of description and utilize instead the tools of imagination and assumption. One translates what they hear from their young companion into an image entirely apart from both the rea...

In Performance: Ligia Lewis – Minor Matter (American Realness 2017)

Ligia Lewis – Minor Matter (US Premier) Sunday, January 8, 5pm – SOLD OUT* Monday, January 9, 7pm – SOLD OUT* Tuesday, January 10, 4pm – SOLD OUT* Abrons Arts Center, Experimental Theater 466 Grand Street, Manhattan Minor Matter is uncomfortable. Rage in the black body is a polarizing subject in black culture. It’s as personal as a secret. Minor Matter explores the various ways black rage manifests and how it effects the community at large. Choreographer/Performer Ligia Lewis and her collaborators Jonathan Gonazalez and Hector Thami Manekehla fuse anger with everything from the mundane to the intimate. Their movement is athletic and powerful. Sometimes you can’t tell if the performers are loving or fighting. Humor feels like a slap. The show uses a limited pallet in evoca...

In Performance – Juliana F. May, Adult Documentary (American Realness 2017)

Juliana F. May Adult Documentary January 7, 5:30pm January 8, 8:30pm January 9, 1pm January 10, 10pm American Realness Abrons Art Center 466 Grand St, New York What is the relationship between the form of language and it’s meaning? Can a word’s “shape” interfere with the reality of what its expressing? What does it mean to exist in this unclear, problematized space, to  dance around a topic rather than seek clarity? These are the questions asked in Juliana F. May’s dance performance, Adult Documentary, a collision of text and movement with playfulness and eroticism running throughout, bringing to mind at times both the casual confidence of pre or post orgy discussion and the hollow emotion of group therapy. It is a piece certainly touching on sex, but primaril...

In Performance: AmeriSHOWZ, Circle of Champions 2017 (American Realness)

American Realness Circle of Champions 2017 AmeriSHOWZ (NYC) Gibney Dance: Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center 280 Broadway Jan 6 – 8pm Jan 7 – 8pm Jan 8 – 8pm AmeriSHOWZ, the brainchild of choreographer Alex Rodabaugh, advertises itself as “one of the world’s largest direct performance selling businesses.” If you’re confused as to what exactly this might mean, don’t worry: the AmeriSHOWZ team is here to explain it to you. Clad in professional black outfits, Rodabaugh and dancers Ashley Handel, John Hoobyar and Lily Bo Shapiro step out in front of the audience, welcoming us enthusiastically to this training session. AmeriSHOWZ, we learn from these earnest representatives, allows you to buy tickets to a variety of performances (advertised “brands” include Meg Stuart, Miguel Gutierrez, and Tra...

IN PERFORMANCE: MOLLY LIEBER + ELEANOR SMITH – BASKETBALL (COIL 2017)

Molly Lieber + Eleanor Smith – Basketball (World Premiere) Saturday, Jan 7, 7pm Sunday, Jan 8, 4pm + 7pm Monday, Jan 9, 4pm Tuesday, Jan 10, 7pm at Howard Gilman Performance Space, Baryshnikov Arts Center, 450 West 37th Street, Manhattan Basketball is a team sport. It requires discipline and sharp focus. These virtues are exemplified when the game is played one on one. Molly Lieber and Eleanor Smith’s experimental dance piece developed over two years has the quality of an intense game of one on one. Lieber and Smith exhibit risk in subtle and eerie ways. It’s hard to know when one performer ends and the other begins. That requires an incredible amount of intimacy that is rarely seen on stage. You wonder if they are going to get through it. They are dancing for each other ...