Vanessa goes to 2015 OtB Northwest New Works Festival Jun 16, 2015

by Vanessa DeWolf

Two perspectives of our current times.
One dark and with a sense of disconnection
The other light and full of grand scale hope


Northwest New Works often surprises me in it’s prescience.
Each year the festival rolls around and I wonder how will the work
affect me?  This year I feel threads that pull me in different directions
so profoundly represented in the differences between the two weekends
mainstage shows.  I identify my own inner battle with a deep sense of 
disconnection & isolation alongside waves of bright growing and grand hope.


Weekend Two:
It is in the light the figure and the branches of a tree merge and emerge. The space contains a kind of verisimilitude, the strange image of human bodied tree is clear well-lit though a solo figure not isolated somehow.  Slowness, watching the subtle shifts of solar plexus of gradual waves through the spine and then the gradual revelation of face and head.  A transformation into human. The second piece of this artist is equally about the revealing of home, a place this figure belongs within, and there is never a moment of awkwardness or blurriness. The dancer, the human element, is secure and in no danger.

And then songs of love, spanish, and a clear composition for the four women to belong. Though they cannot see each other I make links, generational, familial links between the seated figures.  One woman is capable of moving in and out of her chair, deep plies, sharp clear legs with a torso of love-song.  Musical & structural there is a home place within this work, as all of the women gradually in cannon or unison echo the arm movements.  Clear song, clear movement, simple, the beginning of a whole operatic story of sisters courses in my imagination, Spanish with a Russian flavor.

And who is AO. Oh how I love AO!  Oh Awaiting Oblivion, I’m so glad you and Tim & Jeffrey & Skylar & Kristen get to grapple repetitively hopefully with you on this hypocritical and confusing time.  How do we act?  How do we notice actions (graffiti, the occupy movement, etc) and participate in this place this city?  This time, these existential crises, the Facebook posts, the fake smiles, the fitting-in via repetitions and smiles we barely understand.  I feel hope in a raging distrust of locations of power.  Jane Fonda once stood on those lines going to Vietnam to protest the war and then a decade later made a hugely successful series of exercise video-tapes then revealed her battle with bulimia…..failure and hope mingling.  TEMPORARY SOLUTIONS exercise video coming out soon?  

I want to be ok when everything is not ok.  Also can I get on the advance readers list for the sci-fi dystopian novel in progress?

And the evening ends with a fast series of intersections.  An ensemble of people connected by a moment of sudden violence?  All sides of this violence unfold as all perspectives rapidly in succession. A piece like a video-camera.  I was happy to be up high in the audience to see the whole picture.  How do we stand by?  How do we remember?  Do we remember?  And still the violence returns, is unavoidable, has happened now or then or will is about to happen.  This work was filmic particularly in the rewind, fast-forward, play that are the rooting elements of making film.  

In the end I left the theater feeling we are all interconnected, full of huge hope and potentially able to act….and to sometimes act in one way while failing in other ways.  And Jose Amador was my companion for the evening, a return in our ways.  We haven’t seen each other really in a few years, and yet when together we really see each other.  Thanks for an antidote evening.