On July 31st, the last day of the month, there was a crescent moon waxing in Virgo. I don’t pay much attention to the moon phases unless I feel weird. I felt disconnected all day on that Thursday at work. Continually interrupted, I made mistakes. Nothing major but still, errors were made.
Having never seen a performance by the Amsterdam based Emio Greco/PC dance company, I was fully unprepared for the extremalist, action that unfolded during their award winning production ROCCO at REDCAT on Thursday, April 17th. I have also never witnessed such violent and tender masculine prowess and physical endurance on a stage, in a theater space nor in an arena before. Coming close would be Nick Duran’s powerfully emotional every time you are near which he presented only a few nights before ROCCO with Brian Getnick at Pieter in Highland Park on the evening of the blood moon eclipse. I venture to imagine that if Nick lived in Amsterdam he would collaborate with Emio Greco/PC–or vice versa if Greco and Pieter C. Schouten were based in L.A. In Nick, I see a younger Emio(if only in premonition from photos and videos) with a similar originality and control of one’s dramaturgic, dance performance aesthetic.
After enduring Trajal Harrell’s Antigone Sr./Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at the Judson Church at REDCAT on April 3rd, I felt gutted, empty and sad. I was nauseous for being reminded of our human condition; trapped as opposites and the same; responsible for each other, connected by atomic fibers as symbiotic memes. Going into the black box, I wanted to pretend I knew nothing about Mr. Harrell’s creative intentions.
But NOOOO, in case you didn’t get a program from the cardboard box in the shadows at the door, Harrell felt the need to explain the Antigone/Harlem Balls/downtown pedestrian theater connections prior to the start of the performance and apologized(part of the piece?) that the lighting designer was in Belgium and that there might be mistakes despite the stand in lighting designer from Brest being present. I wanted an authentic, non-insider art viewing experience without the tropes of meaning nor histories. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Though I lived in NYC for 6 years, I never saw a Wooster Group production. When my friend invited me to see the Group’s remake of CRY TROJANS! (Troilus & Cressida) at REDCAT on opening night, I was thrilled. The fact that Wooster Group is premiering CRY TROJANS! in Los Angeles and not anywhere else, says A LOT about the state of performing arts here. Not only is it thriving but established venues are more confident that bringing a company like Wooster, to Los Angeles will inspire entertainment seekers to choose a live, black box theater experience over a more predictable, safer movie theater outing.
If your brain is a little dumbed down from not picking up a book lately, knowing the synopsis of Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida certainly helps fill in any confusing plot gaps you may experience while viewing CRY TROJANS.
Dara Birnbaum has questions. Where did my irony go? How can I question and address our current political and environmental state through art? After viewing over an hours worth of early single channel works at Human Resources in Chinatown on February11th, I asked her if she liked disco music. Her response was, “Do you?” I was born in the seventies so I did not experience disco through contemporary pop culture.