Beginner's Guide to Gob Squad Sep 10, 2012

by Heidi

Perhaps you remember Gob Squad's last apperance at OtB in 2001, perhaps not.  Either way! Here are a few tidbits of information to get you warmed up for their upcoming performances, Sep 27 - 30

1. Gob Squad is a performance artist collective with members and bases in both the UK and Germany.  Gob Squad’s founding members met at Nottingham Trent University in England while taking a contemporary arts course in 1992.  They made their very first pieces as a way to get into the Glastonbury Festival (a festival of performing arts) for free, as performers.   The group became official in 1994 and quickly expanded to include their German members, whom they met as foreign exchange students at Nottingham Trent University.  Gob Squad was based out of Nottingham for many years, but after doing artist residencies in Germany, Gob Squad currently calls Berlin home.

2. How did the name Gob Squad originate? “Gob” was the title of a mix-tape found, by chance/laying around, and they were attracted to the word.  Gob means mouth.  A squad is, yes, a team.  And, Gob Squad thinks the name sounds like a mash-up of children’s theater and punk.

3. Gob Squad, influenced and fascinated by pop culture, has tackled the king of pop art himself, Andy Warhol, in their production of Gob Squad’s Kitchen.  The company is on a mission to reconstruct some of his classic films, Kitchen, Kiss, Sleep and Screen Test, which are actually rather hard to see.  The original Warhol films were restored and catalogued by the Whitney Museum, and are held by MoMA, and the copyright to the footage is held by the Warhol Museum. The films are loaned out to art museums around the country, including the Seattle Art Museum which showcased three of those films in 2010. If you have never seen an Andy Warhol film, check out this screen test featuring Factory star Mary Woronov, which is an excerpt from the film, 13 Most Beautiful, with music by Dean & Britta:  

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4. Gob Squad is notorious for using video and soliciting participation from the audience.  Their work is largely experiential and they frequently cast audience members in their performances. The company likes the use of video because (as I paraphrase from their FAQ section of the Gob Squad website) film and TV are the main cultural language of our times, and it’s important to be not only a consumer of this media, but a producer! Take a look at this video about the creation of Gob Squad’s Super Night Shot for an example of their brilliant video work:

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5. Gob Squad's Kitchen won the 2012 Drama Desk award for Unique Theatrical Experience.  The Drama Desk award is the only award where Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Off-Off-Broadway productions compete side by side.  The same award has previously been awarded to The Blue Man Group, Cirque de Soleil, and John Gielgud!