9.16.2008

unamerican

A few new people joined our cast tonight. Among them, a director visiting from Sydney. We had a lot of down time together, and she told me about the kind of theater she does (primarily nonlinear, non narrative, image-based, almost entirely acrobatic).

She talked about this Italian director, Romeo Castalucci, whose work she absolutely loved. She described his work, and in response, I tried not to react like a midwestern housewife with serious opinions on performance art and downhome american decency.

I looked it up on YouTube. I'd say it's exactly as she described it, except that each little clip apparently happens live and goes on for about 10 minutes.

Oh, and look out. There are naked boobs if you're still watching, like, 2 minutes into this. Which you may or may not be. Especially now that I've told you.


Is this interesting to you? Would you go see this? Or does this just fall into the category of TOO FREAKING ARTSY (which I consider a valid category, probably a subset of TOO SELF-INDULGENT)?

To me, the images are totally unforgettable and arresting, and it's a definitely a new way of thinking about live theater. But ...I'm not sure I LIKE it. Or maybe I'm more conservative at heart than I realize. If you actually watched the thing and you feel like it, I'd really love to read any comments about it.

6 comments:

taipalmgren said...

Those boobs are not what I expected.

Using the music from "Twin Peaks" sort of reveals who the director really wants to be.

I did enjoy the leprechaun, though.

Evan Jacover said...

Is that a car commercial?

Jeremy said...

Some of the most amazing things I've ever seen onstage have been either performance art or very performance-y theater. Dogtroep was (is?) awesome. I loved Tosca by the Cook County Theater Department. Stephen Berkoff's one man show was not terribly avant-garde for him, but it wasn't a guy standing against a brick wall telling stories about his life, either.

I'm predisposed to like that kind of thing, and not just because the more ridiculous versions play well in Vegas. (I mean, whoever said you can't make money doing avant-garde theater never heard of Blue Man Group.)

But heavy atmospheric music is unfortunate. For some reason it makes everything ridiculous to me, like the scene in Big Lebowski where the Dude's landlord does his avant-garde dance piece. I'd be curious to see the actual piece, though, assuming I ever left the house. Which I don't.

Lizzy said...

Feels SOOOoo David Lynch, from the music to the images, i.e. it's been done, so I no longer find it to be too shocking. What I don't get is the gratuitously slow credit roll and the minute of black at the end.

All in all, this is the kind of thing that when I see it performed, I can't wait for it to be over, but I'm happy that I expanded my horizons, however worthlessly. It's like taking nasty medicine.

Lacy said...

I know, the Angelo Badalamenti rip off music totally makes it seem like Lynch. I started to acknowledge that in the post, then I thought I'd leave it out and see if it struck anyone else as much.

I just wonder how different it is to see it in person.

I guess another famous piece he did featured a 9 month old baby just sitting on the stage for about 10 minutes. If the baby cried and screamed, they just let it cry for the entire 10 minutes (the parent was legally required to always be in the wings). My new Aussie friend was really excited about the immediacy and the total visceral reaction of that ...but it gave me a bad feeling.

maird said...

OK. So, I think that if you are going to do physical theatre in that vein, it is the most effective if you center it around a really strong sense of recognition. The farther and weirder you go, the more you have to be really honest to make sure that you are tying into something that is emotional and human. I think that a lot of these things get put together with experimentation, and then when the ensemble hits on something that makes them feel something then they keep it. They may even grow it and work around it. But often the question of why it is applicable doesn't get asked and so by the time the image makes it to a performance it is still pretty or amazing and there is still a tug when I see it, but it doesn't actually take me from point A to point B, which is what I think good theatre does. So of course I haven't seen whatever this is, and maybe they did, I'm just saying that if you are going to have a dude not be impressed by falling cars then I am right there with you, because I myself would be a total stoic if you dropped a car next to me (ha), however, if you are then going to put that dude on the fallen car in a Jesus pose I no longer feel like you (as a theatre-maker) are staying true to the awesome thing you've tapped into.