In Performance

In Performance: Markus Öhrn, 3 Episodes of Life (Weiner Festwotchen)

3 Episodes of Life: Episode 1 Markus Öhrn May 31-June 9 Wiener Festwochen 3 Episodes of Life: Episode 1 is a reperformance of the violence and brutality present in so many rehearsal rooms stretched to their most grotesque culminating in an hour long sexual assault that is built on the exploitation of explicit and implicit power dynamics to put a young dancer in humiliating circumstances. In the foyer of the theater there are giant spray painted signs “Fuck the floor” “this is what art looks like” “breath in, breath out you’ve got this”. Later these phrases are repeated in the performance. Before the performance two figures in exaggerated paper mache masks play a work for theremin and piano. We are then ushered into the theater space where the two performers sit on stage in a white box with...

In Performance: Benjamin Verdonck, Leidlein Für Gigi (Weiner Festwotchen)

Liedlein Für Gigi (Songs for Gigi)Benjamin VerdonckJune 6-9 2019Wiener Festwochen A box with strings, two musicians, a voice. Sometimes the most direct path to hope is through simplicity. Inside of a hand made mini theater shapes, colors, and lights dance and flicker. The shapes are all linear, squares, rectangles and triangles, calling to a cityscape. Hidden in the dark, Benjim Verdonk creates moments of practical magic with a delicate virtuosity. The shapes move with a careful and meditative slowness as he relates fragments of conversations he’s had with his youngest daughter around the time of the Paris attacks. Verdonck sent me an English translation of the text that was written in German. Some excerpts are simple, about ponytails and sandwiches with strawberry jam. Some are less simpl...

In Performance: Romeo Castellucci/ Societas, Le Metope del Partenone (Wiener Festwotchen)

Le Metope del Partenone Romeo Castellucci/ Societas June 7-9, 2019 Wiener Festwochen We walk into a blank warehouse, grey floors and off white walls. There are some stains, remnants from earlier performances. A few benches line the sides of the room.  Everyone is clinging to the walls. A woman walks in with stage makeup on. It’s hard to tell at first what the injuries are. With her are three individuals in white lab coats. They help the performer down, add makeup to the wounds and spill blood on the gray floor of the warehouse. So much blood. It streams out from her head in little rivers that wind their way to the audience who has gathered in a clump, straining to see. Some people are pushing through the crowd to get a better look. This is not real, they are telling us with the gesture. Th...

In Performance: Milo Rau/NT Gent, Orset in Mossul (Weiner Festwootchen)

Orest in Mossul Milo Rau/NTGent June 6-8 2019 Wiener Festwochen The first statement in the ghent manifesto reads “It’s not just about portraying the world anymore. It’s about changing it. The aim is not to depict the real, but to make the representation itself real.” Some performances are necessary and impossible. Violence is cyclical. According to the New York Times, we have been at war for 92% of the last 3,400 years.  And yet, how can the experience of living in Iraq, in the midst of ongoing violence be translated to a European audience? How can we possibly understand the trauma of having an intimate knowledge of execution techniques, of a 19-year-old girl whose best friend was kidnapped and forced to marry an ISIS fighter? Milo Rau’s The Oresia in Mossul included performers from Iraq a...

In Performance: Sorour Darabi, Farci.e (Wiener Festwochen)

Farci.e Sorour Darabi June 5-6 2019 Wiener Festwochen How does language encounter our bodies? What happens when our unexplainable being collides with insufficient and colonialist linguistic frameworks? Farcie is the French word for stuffed. Sorour Darabi is an Iranian artist. While studying in France and learning to speak French he*she was troubled by the incessant need to gender objects and people in the French language, a construct that does not exist in the same way in his*her native Farsi. This performance created by Sorour Darabi is a material study of the way that language penetrates us, fills us, and how this bodily encounter transforms us and transforms language. We enter a white room with a white table, white chair, two bottles of water, and a ream of paper with blue ink on it. Af...

Opening: Madame Lynch from The Drunkard’s Wife (NYC) May 29-June15, 2019

Madame Lynch a new spectacle with music from The Drunkard’s Wife Previews May 26 and 28, 2019Runs May 29 – June 15, 2019 at The New Ohio Theatre 154 Christopher Street Tickets: $25 A spectacle with music, Madame Lynch takes on the picaresque story of Eliza Lynch, a 19th-century woman whose fortunes took her from Irish potato famine refugee, to French courtesan, to the self-proclaimed “Empress of Paraguay.” In collaboration with the Paraguayan folkloric dance group Ballet Panambí Vera, The Drunkard’s Wife creates a multifaceted portrait of La Lynch as a way to understand the complex dynamics of cultural imperialism. The show reaches peaks of beauty and horror as it proceeds by way of live music, dance, and real and imagined scenes from her life as an adventures...

In Performance: Lola Arias, Minefield (Out There Festival)

MinefieldLola AriasWalker Art Center Minefield gathers veterans of both sides of a war. However, it may as well be two different wars, as we come to learn that people from the two countries involved hold wildly different view on everything from the name of the conflict to the reason for fighting to the reception of the homecoming troops. Lola Arias has brought together a cast of six veterans of the Falklands War (aka the Malvinas War aka Guerra del Atlántico Sur), three from the UK side, three from the Argentinian side. The piece is as much about the veterans’ process of coming together to make Minefield as it is about the war itself. These foes have turned friends. Of course it’s not easy to reconcile one’s experience with the enemy to the reality of a single human who is an artistic peer...

In Performance: Berlin, Zvizdal [Chernobyl, so far–so close] (Out There Festival)

Zvizdal [Chernobyl, so far–so close]BerlinOut There FestivalWalker Art Center When we first meet Nadya and Petro, they sit silently on a bench outside their ramshackle home in a deserted Ukranian village, staring out at the world, occasionally swatting at a fly. This entirely unremarkable moment is projected on both sides of a large screen, to be scrutinized by an audience in tiered seating units on either side, part of an installation created to hold this documentary film. From the beginning, Berlin plays with the contrast between the technological magic of the presentation and the base simplicity of their subjects’ lives. Petro and Nadya are the last two holdouts living in their part of the exclusion zone, a 1000 square mile square around the Chernobyl power plant whose residents w...

In Performance: Kaneza Schaal, Jack & (Out There)

JACK &Kaneza Schaal in collaboration with Cornell Alston and Christopher MyersJanuary 2019Walker Art Center A goldfish swims in circles in its tiny bowl at center stage, a prisoner whose inner life, if it has any, we cannot access. It will stay in its bowl, captive and on display, for the duration of the three-part performance in which we delve into the dream life of our recently incarcerated protagonist, Jack. In Part I, “The Monologues,” Cornell Alston’s Jack comes to us with just stories, a monologue about life in the community room of a prison, with larger-than-life characters sharing confident but ill-informed opinions over any topic that comes their way. We hear of the difficulty of proving to a parole board that theatre is gainful employment, and we can laugh, because of course ...

In Performance: Jack Ferver, Everything is Imaginable (American Realness)

Everything Is ImaginableJack FerverAmerican Realness at New York Live ArtsJanuary 7-12, 2019 What makes a young gay boy, perceiving himself to be different, feel safe or whole? Who gives him inspiration, or permission, to be something he wants to be? In the first half of Everything Is Imaginable, Jack Ferver gives us a fantasia parade of such figures. One by one, his soloists—James Whiteside, Lloyd Knight, Garen Scribner, and Reid Bartelme, dancers coming from different performance traditions—take the stage, each presenting their childhood idol as a kind of character sketch: the emotive diva (Judy Garland), the elegant pioneer (Martha Graham), the charismatic athlete (Brian Boitano), and the fabulous beast (yes, that would be My Little Pony). In this sequence, the dancers’ virtuosity is a ...

In Performance: p r i s m (Prototype)

p r i s m Composed by Ellen Reid Libretto by Roxie Perkins Directed by James Darrah Music Directed by Julian Wachner Prototype, La MaMa January 6-12, 2019 CW: Sexual assault, rape, PTSD p r i s m is an opera about trauma. It is an exploration of coping, of recounting – of learning how to heal, how to find language again. We begin in a white, cut out square of a room. Our two characters lie asleep in bed dressed in long white gowns that speak of an imaginary mental hospital. Two walls are cut away to allow us into the cramped and intimate world of mother and daughter, psychological abuser and abused. Lumee at first seems to be taking care of her daughter Bibi – and Lumee is the one keeping her locked in this small room – but we quickly move into a ripping vocal exchange as Lumee blames, caj...

In Performance: Juliana F. May, Folk Incest (American Realness)

Folk Incest Juliana F. May American Realness, Abrons Arts Center January 9-12, 2019 A single row of chairs lines the four walls of Abrons’ intimate G05 studio, all of them seemingly meant for the audience. Until Molly Poerstel enters from the hallway, takes an open seat, and, lit by a spotlight, struggles to speak. She has some pages in her hand, presumably a script she’s trying to say, but she just can’t get her mouth to form the words. She tries, over and over, for a remarkably long time, changing pitch and speed and tone, and eventually it becomes clear that she’s trying to say, “I hate when people talk about irony like that.” She struggles through a few more sentences until the lighting opens up to include four other women in the space with her. What...