Anna Marie Shogren: La Brea
I see a tapestry of an ink drawing of elephants- a mother and her calf are safe on dry land as the father is drowning in a tar pit, his trunk extended to the heavens and his mouth open as he roars defiantly to his death……..
Elephants are symbolic of ancient power, strength and royalty filled with tremendous myth. We’ve read about “ elephant graveyards” where they go to die and the Hindu God Ganesha to bring wisdom and success. They are even known to mourn and grieve because of loyalty to one another. Elephants instinctively divide by age and gender. Ted Andrews in his book Animal Speak writes about the three forms of the feminine energies in life- the child. the mother, and the old wise woman. He further suggests that if elephant totem has come into one’s life, that she/he will embrace mutual care for of the young, elderly, and the sick. Where does Anna Marie Shogren fit inside all of this?
Beginning: I see a cloaked figure enter a world and we discover she has “ stars in her eyes.” Is she Ziggy Stardust? Why does her expression remain so pan? Her shadow joins her and they dance an odd little Irish Jig to reveal an umbilical chord made of hair of some kind (elephant fur?).
New scene: a mattress under a paned window. We hear descriptions of a man trying to remove parasitic bugs from his leg. I feel saliva building in my mouth and am tormented between the duality of germaphobia and addiction. A rug enters and the geometric designs are now seen as bugs, crawling and infecting…….
Shift: Three dancers in fashionable ghetto with matching straw hats jam to the Pointer Sisters. I feel high and am satisfied at how long they play with a rhythmic jazz routine of sautes, jetes, and spirit fingers. I can’t help but viscerally join them on the 1-2-3 shape that repeats before Anna Marie is humorously dragged on her tummy around the stage by her 2 friends- laughing, pulling, parading…… and I love the brown loafers!!!!!
End: A rumble, crackling sound I feel in my gut as the 2 friends “ Mirror” and “ Shadow” retreat upstage to the tapestry. AMS is downstage, vulnerable, as reality washes over her…. and she bows to lose her straw hat and drag herself to the bed to see if the corner is edible.
I can’t help but think about film director Gus Van Sant and his controversial films Elephant and Last Days that try a viewer’s patience in the most exquisite way. Anna Marie Shogren embraces what Van Sant does in what I can only describe as “ delicious pauses” and exquisite patience in timing. Thanks for the trip…..