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Posted inPerformance

A Visual Concert of Gestures

Audience members for Tori Wrånes’s “Yes Nix” performance had to sidestep the artist, who was lying on the floor at the entrance to SIR Stage 37, as they walked in. Her feet were tied in rope, which was strung up to a running track in the ceiling. It was the most confrontational part of the 30-some-minute performance, an otherwise structured and slick series of gestures — a sort of operetta without words.

Posted inPerformance

A Play Without Actors, Only Light and Sound

The idea of a play with no people on stage isn’t new. That is, after all, what the phantasmagoria stage shows of the 18th and 19th centuries were all about, where projections of light with sound conjured a theatrical spectacle of phantoms. In Dutch artist Gabriel Lester’s Super Sargasso Sea (phantom play #1), presented at Abrons Arts Center as part of Performa 13, this experiment was resurrected in a piece of 20 minutes where nothing moved on the angular stage except lights and an occasional door opening and closing.

Posted inPerformance

The Questions of Performa 13

Marianne Vitale’s “The Missing Book of Spurs,” her commission for Performa 13, features half-naked women in corsets, a man in assless chaps, and “natives” in outfits inspired by traditional Native American clothing; it features blocks of wood, a wooden sculpture that looks like a torpedo, and a large, old-fashioned wooden bar; it features loud music, a smoke machine, and erotic dancing. It is a big spectacle. Unfortunately, I’m not sure it’s anything else.

Posted inPerformance

When Good Intentions Aren’t Enough

I didn’t know what to expect from Einat Amir’s “Our Best Intentions,” a work premiering in New York as part of Performa 13. I had seen the trailer, which suggests a fairly emotional experience. I had read the description on the Performa site, which says the participatory piece blends “psychotherapy, theater and art.” I braced myself for honesty. I was a little nervous.

Posted inPerformance

Original Sin, Original Theater

Experiencing “The Humans” does require some stamina, as it’s a three-hour long play that often dips into follies that can drag a bit long. Yet if you’re interested in theater, the influences of art’s obsession with forms, Shakespeare, Wodehouse, and scatological humor wrapped around a frame of the Greek satire of Aristophanes is an intriguing experiment.

Posted inPerformance

Dissecting Contemporary Dance

Even for those well-versed in contemporary dance, Maria Hassabi’s work can sometimes test the very applicability of the term. Sure, postmodernism has expanded dance’s vocabulary to include all sorts of things well outside the limitations of formal technique, from pedestrian movement to text and so on, but at some level, most people still expect to see performers actually move around on stage at a dance piece.