Responses to NWNW Week Two + the Sunday installation

In lieu of reviews or four lenses write-ups for NWNW, which honestly I had a lot of trouble attempting to write, I decided to go with a simpler device put to use in writing sessions we had in Alice Gosti’s Say Yes IMP class: Poetic, stream of consciousness rambling. I found this a much clearer way to articulate what I felt or saw.

Week two got a little more literal and direct as I recounted some pieces. But I didn’t put any pressure on myself to adhere to a form or function.

Jeffrey Frace – “Harp Song For a Radical”: This is the dawning of a dance piece post-Aquarius, with DJ’s from Aquarius! Aquariussssssss. Activist theatre! This is post-hippie reality! Fuck The Man! Now we do a dance using skills taught to us by The Man!  Take that, system! There is a ringer in this crew of rebellious street ladies. I suspect this Badgeley character has taken a ballet class or two on the sly! Our young male protagonist has had it with this world! Don’t touch me, motherfucker. Now he is in jail. Oh hai, Wade Madsen! He will do the dance of incarceration, oppression and death… the same one Dylan Ward’s being doing. Wade’s DoIO+D is a little more stately. I see Kate Sumpter’s character found the good shit. We shall weep for she has drank it all and blacked right the fuck out. Why can’t UW Drama do interesting shit like this piece instead of the live action Sominex they call a theatre season?

Eternal Glow Project – “(Omega) < 1”: Our final presentation features the death of everything explained by physics and personal anecdotes. Slides make any anecdote funnier. ilvs strauss would be proud of these two. Maybe. As we get deeper into the troubling metaphor the Eternal Glow Project starts building shit, film at 11. It is this construction and deconstruction that shows us the finite loop of life and deep that leads to the end of the universe, which is Tim Smith Stewart sitting underneath a bench rambling into over-sonic oblivion as Jeffrey Azevedo also rambles into oblivion and the noise of both the noise and the visuals sends us into a supernovan death spiral that leaves me stumbling out of On the Boards during intermission for a walk and wishing for a moment that I smoked because I was pretty sure I needed one after that.

AMADOR/STOKES – “DUELS: Orange”: They did a scene from a stage play. Not to bag on anyone’s theater skill (no one embarrassed themselves), but given the M.O. of On the Boards and NWNW I’m not at all sure how this got into NWNW, especially considering the caliber and innovation of just about everything else. This didn’t do anything out of the ordinary, and truth be told it wasn’t particularly interesting. Did somebody cash in a favor?

Paris Hurley – “Beware the Illusion of Perfection”: We hate ourselves. ilvs, not so much. Mercedes engages the peat moss, the backgrounders slowly sway like slow motion human reeds in underwear, and we swap back and forth between a slow moving tableau of dance, movement, spoken word and physical theater. I’m having Corrie Befort 2012 NWNW flashbacks. Let us dance. Let us backgrounders step forth and set a coda tableau. This was a very dark set of Studio pieces.

Paul Budraitis – “Clear Blue Sky”: I actually read a lot about plane crashes, and am quite  familiar with not just the small plane crash video Budraitis opens the piece with but the Uberlingen midair collision that serves as the subject of his sad tale of the man who lost his family and took revenge on the acquitted air traffic controller whose gaffe caused the crash. The choice to do the piece via closed circuit camera inside a large wooden cubic space with projection of a space view of Earth still baffles me, though it is clearly a creative decision to augment not just the character telling these stories but provide a metaphor for the stories, these and the story of the man who lost his son to war.

The New Animals – “TRE”: These are more somber and serious New Animals than usual. They tap the rhythm with cups and 1-3 by 1-3 they break away and dance in eerie side light. Familiar voices come from above and tell the truth. New Animals dance to their truth and drink a lot. Death surrounds us all and has surrounded them all at separate times, even given a single and important loss struck them simultaneously. In death they live with greater flourish. Tribute is a commitment as great as the tattoos on their bodies. They outline cups in a final formation that does not hit me until a day later. III. Joe Sodd III lives.

bobbevy – “This is how we disappear”: The dance is curiously quiet and slow, almost at times pedestrian though definitely inspired. This is very Portland. The screen saver forest behind them moves atop the curious music as they pace through a texturally static dance peppered with occasional mugging. The form leaves me wanting but the multimedia atmosphere is engaging. I want the dancers to breathe it in and incorporate it Satori style. Oh, and speaking of Satori….

The Satori Group – “This Land Is Always Known”: Greta Wilson speaks. Then a giant ensemble hums, shuffles and sings us into a scene of discovery where she has a brief BFA Ten Minute Play Festival scene with Quinn Franzen. But that is not why we’re here. They’re just table setting for the inevitable spiral into the musically enchanted world of Anna Bengson, who grabs the reins and fucking owns all of this shit from here on out. And now we’re riding into a land that other theatre companies don’t ever take us. By the time we’re let off to go home, we want a NWNW full of nothing but this kind of shit. Just as Waxie Moon did last year at NWNW, Satori ends week two with a fabulous bang that blows all the rest away.

Install: WOOD – “Mortar & Pestle”: Self hate and human loathing waft through the air in front of On the Boards. Men walk with bags on their heads. Water is poured onto a trough spilling onto the sidewalk below. A dancer below tries to induce his own vomiting. Matt Drews and Seth Sexton await their spoils of misery. The lady dancers are led astray with boxes on their heads. Seth finds sawdust and has a sawdust solo. Matt comes out from under the table. This is a speakeasy of pain. I head back to work moments before the end.

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