Neo-Fiction Sep 16, 2012

by Heidi

It’s like that old adage: you don’t know what you’ve got ‘till it’s gone, but instead of, “till it’s gone”, substitute “’till Christian Rizzo puts on a hooded sweatshirt with black hair streaming out of the hood-hole and tromps around the landscapes of your life”.

Lately, through happy coincidence (or narcissism), it seems I keep seeing shows which remind me about ‘who I am’—performances that pull on long, forgotten strings that drag around the corners of my psyche. I’m from a small town in Alaska and, as a child, spent a fair amount of time in Washington visiting my grandmother, picking low bush blackberries and clam digging on the Olympic Peninsula; I grew up on cold beaches, near the mountains, and in the woods. Sometimes it seems funny to find myself here in Seattle, this heady, urban soup. Sometimes the city feels like a cloister, a cloud, a suspension of people and ideas—but as I watched Neo-Fiction, it pulled my city lifestyle and notions together like a bunch of balloons, and tethered them to the aesthetics of the Pacific North West.

I felt . . . shocked (because, it was so dead-on), or, maybe the type of relief you feel when you talk candidly to a stranger, to have Christian Rizzo and Sophie Laly pull apart the aesthetic qualities of the PNW and show them to me so deliberately and cleanly. The stage was a laboratory or a Rube Goldberg machine where pieces were placed meticulously besides one another to exploit their essential parts. I feel they took the shared aesthetic consciousness of the PNW, distilled it, and gave it back to us as a gift so we might tell ourselves, yes, I have seen this, I have been there, I do remember cold sand between my toes, wind shaking trees, the sensation of being alone and introspective amidst foliage . . . and my memories are validated or owned, or . . . recharged.