A piece in the New York Times this morning highlighted a New York spectacle that is being deemed an “installation/street art hybrid”. Melena Ryzik’s article; Taking it to the Streets, is about a work by Yehuda Duenyas entitled “ One Million Forgotten Moments” which seats an audience in a street front window that has been refitted to look like a jewel-box theater. Not only is the performance laden with actors, dancers, chorus girls, a skateboarding team and a magician, but it also turns its eye out on the public. So the random pedestrian flicking his cigarette to the curb and the cab driver picking his nose in his taxi, when framed by the proscenium of the storefront window, become monumental performances.
In reading the article I couldn’t help but think that this is an performance theme that I’m hearing about with more and more frequency. Actors and dancers are taking our notion of what a theater space is and stretching those assumptions– or in some cases completely blowing them apart.
When Philip Bither gave his introductory talk about the Walker’s Performing Arts season, he talked about this being one of the curatorial threads he used in putting together this year’s season. What he’s calling the In:Site/Out series (Gob Squad, Miguel Gutierrez’s Powerful People, Claude Wampler, Faustin Linyekula, and Back to Back Theatre) will all be doing what Duenyas has done in New York by redefining audience/performer relationships and restructuring the way we think about theatrical space.
I think that there’s a certain sense of pride in knowing that the things that are turning heads in the Big Apple, the theater capital of America, are also turning heads here in…. well… the Minniapple.