Next Wednesday at 7 pm, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company will hold a free, open rehearsal for their new Walker-commissioned piece Story/Time, followed by a Q&A with Bill T. Jones and the company.
Story/Time is based on John Cage’s performance Indeterminacy, in which John Cage told 90 one-minute, unrelated stories in succession at the same time as pianist David Tudor performed, out of earshot of Cage, selections from Cage’s Concert for Piano and Orchestra and played pre-recorded tape from Cage’s Fontana Mix. The unrelated unison of sound and story illustrated Cage’s philosophy that music is “a purposeless play” which is “an affirmation of life – not an attempt to bring order out of chaos nor to suggest improvements in creation, but simply a way of waking up to the very life we’re living.”
The entire John Cage performance exists as a recording you can purchase through Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, or you can listen to excerpts here (and see that the stories do indeed clock-in at roughly one-minute lengths). There is also a website that has transcribed all the 90 stories (plus more from other Cage performances/publications) to be accessed in randomized order.
For Story/Time, the stories are completely new and told by Bill T. Jones himself. The addition of choreography also sets it apart from the Cage/Tudor performance, which included only text and music.
I was able to catch part of a rehearsal today, and the piece—even at this early stage —has an electricity to it. Cage’s “affirmation of life” shines through, and even better, Bill T. Jones has crafted Cage’s concept into a play less “purposeless.” Don’t miss this chance to see it free Wednesday, followed by the Q&A where you can ask Mr. Jones and his company questions about their creation process, a uniquely intimate opportunity to interact with an artist whose work and success shine so bright.