American Realness

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 – 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: Tina Satter/Half Straddle, Ghost Rings (American Realness)

Tina Satter/Half Straddle Ghost Rings Sunday, January 8, 10:00pm Monday, January 9, 2:30pm and 8:30pm Tuesday, January 10, 2:30pm American Realness Abrons Arts Center, Playhouse 466 Grand Street A neon outline of a ghost and a heart hangs above the audience of Tina Satter/Half Straddle’s Ghost Rings, being remounted in Abrons Arts Center’s Playhouse for American Realness. This mix of pop art and whimsy sets up what is to follow: a pop song cycle about sisters growing apart and female friendships growing into something more. The show starts with a dramatic opening of the stage curtain to reveal writer-director Satter flanked by performer-composer Erin Markey and performer Kristen Sieh, each at mic stands, and backed by performer-composer Chris Giarmo at a keyboard. A drum set sits empty ups...

In Performance: Big Dance Theater, Cage Shuffle (American Realness)

Big Dance Theater Cage Shuffle Saturday, January 7, 4:00pm and 7:00pm Sunday, January 8, 4:00pm and 7:00pm American Realness Abrons Arts Center, Studio G05 466 Grand Street On each audience seat was a card with a simple explanation of what was about to unfold: “The sequence of the stories is random. The sequence of the dance is not. The performer follows Cage’s original performance instructions: ‘Read stories aloud, with or without additional musical accompaniment, paced so that each story takes one minute. Read all stories in order or select a smaller number, using chance procedures or not.’ -John Cage” The performance began simply as well: two people entered Abrons’ intimate studio space and flicked light switches on the wall. One, creator and performer Paul Lazar...

In Performance: Meg Stuart, An evening of solo works (American Realness)

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 fe...