I don’t when I saw my first Out There performance, but I know that I’ve been attending regularly for the past five years – since seeing Cynthia Hopkins and a bunch of musicians from New York stunned me with a beautiful song made by ripping paper. As an artist making “contemporary” theater and dance, Out There is great. It brings the best of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, TBA, and the NYC downtown theater scene to the Twin Cities. I get to place my work in direct comparison to their work. It’s humbling and inspiring.
But I really attend Out There as an audience member. And as an audience member, I’ve started playing a game with the series called “What’s My Theme?” In 2006, the theme was explicitly Performance Meets Moving Image – every piece had live performance and filmed performance. Since then I’ve made up my own.
This year, for Out There 2010 my pre-show theme is QUATRO: four audiences experience perspective. The four pieces come from different types of performers, are vastly different experiences designed to raise questions within the audience.
Rimini Protokoll’s Call Cutta in a Box is clearly this. It is calling a person in India from the IDS tower. I will be doing this later today. It is two new experiences – calling India and being in the IDS tower. It raises questions about my role as an American in a global economy – a play by Germans with Indian call agent actors presented in an American tower of commerce. NOT in a theater, it is an apt way to start the series (or end it actually it runs until January 31st).
Radiohole’s new work, opening on January 14th, looks like what first made me an Out There regular – an avant-guard New York troupe raises questions about America, being American, and what the hell is happening with our collective culture. Funny, self aware, theatrically innovative, made to entertain and challenge assumptions. A solid perspective – predictably unpredictable (to be a bit trite and hopeful for surprise).
Following the New Yorkers’ eclectic American pop History is a piece by an artist of color that looks like it will be a smooth multi-media performance addressing race and perceptions between different Americas through a specific experience. Roger Guenveur Smith’s Watts Towers Project is a solo work by a proven artist. Solos are difficult to do, and when done well are stunning. I’m looking forward to this perspective.
The series closes out with a visual extravaganza, Hotel Modern’s The Great War. The Dutch company takes perspective as its subject, making a live film about World War I on stage with a miniature set constructed from every day objects. I like this press quote “It seems so real. This is the only way to make the unimaginable bearable.” My imagination is piqued!
This is my preliminary theme. Now I get to go out see if four shows can be folded into Audiences Experience Perspective.
I also get to do play the fun game of picking favorites. What’s yours?