I took notes again. I rarely take notes during a performance, but I kind of liked it. My muscle memory tells me if I have a note pad and pen in hand and there is a performance in front of me, I need to be taking notes on moments that worked, or didn’t make sense. Y’know, so I could share those things with the creative team and they could take them or leave them. Of course, that’s usually in the process of making work, and when I find myself with that notepad and pen during a performance I have a hard time differing from my programming. It also puts me in a place of criticism, rather than able to be entertained.
Last week I took notes too and my blog kind of read like a critical feedback session. I didn’t really like that so much. I mean, it just felt weird to be critical at that point in the process. Who knows if criticism is proper, or what the best format should be, it’s a big topic, and I’m not ready to go there. Anyway, as I took notes this time something happened mid way thru Cathy Wrights piece, my notes started to change. They started to become more like a chronicle of ideas that the images in front of me reminded me of, and then I went on little mental voyages about a different idea. For instance the opening images reminded me of a Brothers Grimm meets Disney movie on LSD meets Modern dance that Harry Potter might stumble into on Diagon Alley. Dark, foreboding, moody, stylized. And that took me on a little journey about what modern dance would look like at Hogwarts, or how Rapunzel might behave on a bad hair day. It was actually really nice to have that space to free associate from the ideas, images, and sounds in front of me and not worry about being present for the artist. It was super selfish, and I have to admit, I think everyone should try it at some point.
There were things that I thought worked really well. The technique of the performers was outstanding, their commitment to the choreography, interesting movement, and definite intention behind the eyes of the performers kept the piece engaging.
In the men’s trio, there was a very violent mood in that piece. It worked well, and I was happy to see a clear point of view. I wondered what it would be like to see the same movement with music that had a different, lighter, tone. Or to hear three instruments, like cello, piano, and oboe converse with each other, while these warrior-like ravers battled with each other.
I went on a little mind trip with the piece with the five women. Reminded me of the Devil Wears Prada, co tour fashion industry, ritual, and reliance upon others.
Usually blackouts really take me out of the performance, and the use of so many blackouts did that a bit for me, but Cathy set up that there would be that convention in the beginning, so it didn’t bother me too much. It also gave permission to allow my mind to wander and come back to the piece and go off again. I wasn’t bored. Don’t be confused. I was engaged the whole time; I just free-associated from the show and back again. I had a great time.
Cathy’s piece ended really well. I would have liked to see Cathy’s character break from the confines of that small movement and really eat up the stage, but despite that, the music, movement, and video came together at the very end and left me very satisfied.
I didn’t take any notes for Off Leah Area’s show. I wanted to see what my experience would be after critical notes, free associative notes, and now, no notes.
Well, I remember it pretty well despite not taking notes. I wasn’t reminded of Harry Potter, or magical Kingdoms or enchanted forests, and my mind wandered less directly than when I took tabs of where my mind went. I was reminded of other biographies/portraits of Andy Warhol I’ve seen, and I thought about other shows I’ve seen that dealt with an artist’s life, or about art itself. I think it’s really hard to do. To make art about art (or artists). It always seems self-indulgent somehow. (No matter how well done and how gripping the story) and I understand it’s not a portrayal, but rather an inspiration, and I tried to be open, but since that is my preconceived view toward work inspired by art or artists, it was hard to shake.
Paul Herwig did a great job of fusing Warhol-esqe qualities with his own, and Katie Kaufman’s news reporter was fleshed out and human. The four more dance-oriented characters were full of great intention and existed as individual characters, not just a populous chorus. This was nice to see.
There were lots of great themes that exist beyond the world of Andy Warhol, such as American’s pre-occupation with fame, idolizing drug users and negative behavior, the effects of fame, the human desire for power, blind idolatry, and the big one . . . popularity.
It’s funny, last weekend; the shows had really strong and evocative beginnings. This weekend the shows had really strong and evocative endings. I wondered what would have happened if the Off Leash show started at the end. So I guess with this piece, my little mind voyage begins at the end. With a society that worships and idolizes a ridiculous man. A society that feels stuck and unable to be go against the mainstream. A society that has incased its frozen idol as much as it has incased it self.
A big thought I am left with after these two weeks is my sincere desire to see work that is specific and downright fun. I’m talking creative and playful like when we were kids and whole worlds existed out of cardboard boxes and blankets or whatever else was handy. (We had a lot of cardboard boxes and blankets maybe you had a lot of bubble wrap and Teflon pans, it doesn’t matter) Work that comes out of a playfulness for us as creators, but with the wholehearted intention of including others in the magical world we create for them.