Mark: My Words - Flashes of Inspiration

Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010 at 12:00 am
I spent my last Friday evening experiencing why robots make better lovers. Bet you can't top that.
An experience - not a 'play,' not a 'show' - is what this was. The 'audience' (sorry for all the quotation marks, but so many of the usual theatre words don't quite fit here) moves around in the darkened space while the 'performers' (last time, I promise) guide them into a series of flashing light/sound/movement/spoken word vignettes. There is no real separation between the performing space and the audience, the narrators and the listeners. Everyone is immersed in this world. It was startling and beautiful.
Along the way, I thought: "What a strange thing, to be alone with your thoughts in a room full of people." Of course, that isn't such a strange thing, it's how we spend much of our lives, but that was somehow concentrated for me by this production. So many of the images and dance segments depicted people not quite connecting with each other, or even with themselves.
And yet everyone will experience this production differently. In the environment created by the artists, it's more difficult than usual to distinguish between the cabaret space and your headspace. I brought my own preoccupations to this experience, but others who were there will tell you it wasn't about aloneness at all.
I don't want to give away any specifics, because unexpectedness is where much of this show's impact resides. Besides that, it's designed to be different every night, so any details I share may be irrelevant.
One of the things that struck me most, though, happened when the production was finished, the lights came up, and audience and artists remained in the cabaret to share some wine and discussion. I sat and looked around at the clusters of conversation, the vignettes of sound and movement that continued to play on even after the show was over. Conversations of two, three, or more, body language that spoke to connectedness and disconnectedness. It was as if the performance was still going on, just with a different lighting plot.
For those few moments, at least, the artistry of Lee Henderson, Johanna Bundon, Barbara Pallomina, and Kate Selleck had changed the way I viewed my surroundings. Whatever the linguistic connection between 'brave' and 'bravo', I'm pretty sure it applies here.  

Read Mark Claxton's blog, Mark: My Words.
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