AN EVENING OF SOLO WORKS
Abrons Arts Center, Playhouse
466 Grand Street
In the four solos making up this program, Meg Stuart passes through phrases, gestures, and poses with a rapid fluidity. Like a swimmer tapping the side of the pool between lengths, her body moves towards an image or an idea, touches it gently, and is moving away from it again almost before we’ve even registered she was there at all. This approach extends to her emotional state as well. She constantly interrupts herself, sending her body on a nonlinear journey through emotional and physical memory. Her choreography throws the viewer into a new frame of reference at all times, and we begin to question how one body can contain so many attitudes and experiences. At the same time, she collapses the distance between seemingly disparate states. How separate, after all, are the wildly different feelings, influences, and desires we have every day?
Stuart displays a body made strange to itself. It acts on itself as though it is acting on another, or being acted upon by outside forces. Her body is manipulated, appropriated, and possessed. In one memorable image, her fingers clutch her closed eyelids as she laughs in a low, strange voice. In another, she faces the audience and her hands push her face into a sneering grimace, her expression and posture evoking a deranged Hollywood gangster. Distortion prevails, but there are moments of tenderness as well. “You know when I said, ‘I’m terrified of anyone getting close to me’– I take it back,” she says in the evening’s second piece, I take it back. Stuart lets us get close, but exactly who it is we are approaching is constantly in question.