To spark discussion, the Walker invites Twin Cities artists and critics to write overnight reviews of our performances. The ongoing Re:View series shares a diverse array of independent voices and opinions; it doesn’t reflect the views or opinions of the Walker or its curators. Today, Erin Search-Wells of SuperGroup shares her perspective on Thank You For Coming: Attendance by Faye Driscoll. Agree or disagree? Feel free to share your thoughts in comments!
These are the good times, when your body can do that. This is what it’s like to go out and know a few people, and kind of arrive deep and known and felt. This is what it feels like to recognize someone as who they really are.
I think I always look like that at a party, stop-motion video laughing maniacally. I think the camera would probably catch my multiple chins though; I might not look as glamorous in the outfit I have put together. I might feel like a real dork in this gold shower cap. After the party I’ll notice that the shower cap left an indent on my forehead.
Everybody might expect me to join in and dance.
It is nice when you don’t realize a transition is happening. It is nice to feel like something has gone on for a long time so it probably will start to morph soon, but then it goes on a little longer and you look back and realize it has changed. It is nice to realize you missed the change again. This level of transformation between sections takes meticulous crafting. I was reminded that this type of crafting is not only about saying “no, not that,” but also “yes, yes, yes YES.” It is nice to see something played long because it is simply so satisfying to watch.
I think I have seen another show recently where I was invited to join in the party at the end. It was the last BodyCartography show. And they both circled the space like a folk-dance, and dimmed the lights, and got a little bacchanal. And I think I’ve been welcomed to a show with a song recently. And the way clothing came off and naked parts of bodies writhed I was reminded of luciana achugar’s OTRO TEATRO. All of these associations are not being recalled for nothing. In fact is it performance zeitgeist? Is it our job to take the temperature of the audience and provide something that they can’t get from other art forms? Why does contemporary performance, or dance-theater, still feel like the most necessary form to me? Well we have to make a list of what it can do that other things cannot do. Film can certainly create the most realistic bear fight. So that’s done. In fact we should probably stop trying to stage naturalistic dinner parties because none of the stage china will make the right sound when it’s broken. But I digress. What does this form have? It has a live, relatively game audience. It has willing, flexible, multi-disciplinary, practiced performers. It has lights, props, costume, moveable seats. It has musical capabilities ranging from acoustic, to voice, to reverberating beats. It has microphones. We should use these things but what is the hole in peoples’ lives that we will try to fill? Communal experience. Acceptance of personhood, yes. Recognition of difference, yes. But definitely communal ritual. Is this why we are seeing these things happen in contemporary performance? I think mostly artists have their form and their interests and they are whittling away at it. But it’s not like other forms where you go in a room above a garage and practice strokes. It is completely in touch with the world. And that is why I think there is a bigger reason we start to notice patterns in what we are seeing on stage.
The last thing I will say about this piece is that the performers are truly amazing. I was just plain impressed by how many layers of their experience they were transmitting simultaneously. Faye’s directions were clearly very specific, and the scores have been drilled rigorously, deeply, shaping their lived experiences so that their presences balanced delicately between alert and comfortable, tense and soft, large and small. I was reminded of the unearthed possibilities our faces, our bodies, hold within us and right on our surfaces.
Faye Driscoll’s Thank You For Coming: Attendance continues in the Walker’s McGuire Theater Thursday-Saturday, February 18-20, 2016 at 8pm, and Sunday, February 21 at 7pm.