I’ve read reviews of Spalding Gray: Stories Left To Tell and I’m still not completely sure what to expect. No, I’m expecting to be surprised.
The affection people have for Spalding Gray is almost overwhelming. I first heard about his work during feedback sessions at Red Eye Collaborations seven years ago. He seemed to be a one man institution surrounded by mystery. Fellow artists told me his performances were extremely simple, usually seated behind a table with a glass of water, and extremely affecting. He challenged theatrical conventions AND connected with audiences emotionally. He was amazing. They said it was such a tragedy when he died.
Eventually I saw some video of him (excerpt from the film of his famous show Swimming to Cambodia). His physicality is striking:
Gray seemed to be a touch point, an inspiration, a significant person. The reverence I hear for Spalding Gray reminds me of the way people talked about Pina Bausch before I saw her work. When I eventually saw her company perform in 2007 it was as if my artistic lineage had been revealed. I saw my stylistic ancestor. It was profound and had a purity that has changed the way I look at theater.
I wonder if this show will do something similar.
And I’m really intrigued by the pre-show tour with Kathleen Russo, Gray’s wife and creator of Stories Left to Tell, on Friday the 19th at 6:30. Looking at art through the eyes of another is interesting. How fascinating is looking at art through the remembered eyes of a legendary artist?