Legends Jun 17, 2012

by Shannon Stewart

As predicted, the mainstage show of Weekend 2 is like a deck of wild cards, misanthropic rock film, designed chaos, surrealist history, and well, Bolero!

 I am lucky to have a very particular role in Vanessa DeWolf’s SCORE FOR AN UNREHEARSED ENSEMBLE that has allowed me to be a part of her improvisational hippy commune of sorts.  But, wearing a performer hat, or fox mask rather, has made me mistakenly miss the first minute of Richard Lefebvre Expecting Bad News twice now.  Because of this, I think there is some legend in that first minute to this “I don’t give a fuck” piece that would convince me why I should give a fuck so tonight I’m going to make sure I see it.   At least from what I’ve seen his film is lush and gritty, with a New York Dolls meets grunge meets drag race culture meets Harmony Korine kind of vibe.  A discussion afterward led us to identify these elements as well as a loose association to Monte Hellman’s Two Lane Blacktop

Speaking of legends, I simply wish that everyone had my perspective and the key that I receive before I participate in SCORE FOR AN UNREHEARSED ENSEMBLE.  There is nothing like being thrust in the middle of SCORE with the secret knowledge of some of the particular things that might unfold.  Once there was a direction for everyone to melodramatically die while singing the Carpenter’s “Rainy Days and Monday’s Always Get Me Down,” and I got to delight in letting my eyes wander from fake death to fake death, neverminding the visual and sonic clutter. While SCORE is unrehearsed, it does not mean un-researched, as Dewolf has spent the last 8 months hosting “Score Labs,” writing intensives and countless meetings about the overall philosophy and design of the show.  Here are some of the notes I wrote from one of the meetings:

The philosophy of being Against Agreement
o   Get lost in your own thing
o   Autonomy – the act of giving oneself laws, self-determination
o   Upstaging, grandstanding, retreating, receding
o   Deborah Hay’s philosophy about simultaneousness “You’re doing what I’m doing.”
o   Subtle and Extreme coexisting
o   Melodrama and Rebellion

 And absolutely no mirroring.

 Much of this is articulated by Dewolf in her program note.

 The program notes also proved to be a helpful legend for Cacophony for Eight Players wherein Director/Performers Beth Graczyk, Angelina Baldoz, and Torben Ulrich along with performers Allie Hankins and Peggy Piacenza and performative sculptures by Micki Skudiarczyk an Steven Beradelli generated a subtle kind of organized chaos with clearly investigated, highly individualized scores. The piece has a breathtaking start with Baldoz heralding the coming of their piece from the audience rear in darkness before a golden light illuminates her creeping down the stairwell creating, well, her own cacophony as she sounds her trumpet and kicks the wall sharply with her wooden heeled boots.  The curtain unfolds on the meditative state of Ulrich, Graczyk and Piacenza.  This scene is gradually broken with a crescendo and dissolve of solos that occasionally overlap, each one demanding intense performative clarity and specific physicality.

Waxie Moon’s Bolero needs no notes for one to decipher, which probably comes as a welcome relief to an audience that has been asked a lot as watchers thus far in the show.  One gimmick begets another gimmick, executed perfectly, with irresistible charm and Waxie’s boylesque performative gender signature (a drag queen that always reclaims his kingly biology) that I so appreciate.

Because I have seen Allie Hankins solo about Nijinsky that uses this same piece of music about 6 times this year, I could not get the association out of my mind and really wished that piece would have ended with Hankins mindblowing three minutes of jumping as Waxie pulled of his last garments.  That would have been a Bolero dream come true.  In our post show conversation, a few friends and I daydreamed about seeing these pieces next to one another with a 17 minute intermission in between wherein a midi version of Bolero played in the background.