Friday, July 16, 2004

While You're At It...
...Or Shows In A Similar Vein

Delighting in the different style of theatre that is...
The Origin of Consicousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind from Claire Simonson?
Skewed Visions
Intermedia Arts 
This is from the people who brought us that wildly popular inner-city road trip "The Car" several Fringes back (a sell-out crowd, at only nine seats, all of them in the back seat of three moving cars, while the performance took place in the front seat)
This time, they've parked and moved into the space at Intermedia Arts, creating another of their signature site-specific (in this case, theatre-specific) theatergoing experiences - pushing the envelope of what a stage and an audience can be.  Everything I've seen from Skewed Visions is compelling and highly entertaining.
But I'll let company member Charles Campbell tell you directly in his own words about the project (back when it was still more of a work in progress)...
"The impetus for creating the piece was the ongoing stampeding of civil rights in the name of security that still seems to be flying under the radar...I wanted to create a piece that was an artistic response to these events without making something didactic, brutal or hard to watch.  I have always been interested in work that flirts with both the beauties of abstraction and the muscles of issue-oriented material...What came out was a piece that explored fear and suspicion, hiding and escape, control and chaos, by using plumbing as a metaphor for both a body and a system.  The show is, I hope, very evocative and suggestive of what it is to live in the culture of fear that has arisen after that day in September.
The piece is a shadowy, whispering, creeping thing...It is a heavily aural experience, slightly unusual in theater I think...I tend to work with collaged texts and sounds, hoping to alter things enough to make them speak my meanings while retaining their original associations.  The text for Pipes was assembled from many sources including sections from a 1962 short story by Julio Cortazar called "The Loss and Recovery of the Hair" (think earthy Borges), my medical records, Orwell's "1984" (naturally), "Austerlitz" by W.G. Sebald, and Eliot's "The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock," plus writings straight from my fingers.  I am working on incorporating a small section from Kafka's "The Trial."  There is a sound/music element that I have assembled from Shostakovich, Phillip Glass, Arvo Part, The Clash, Tom Waits, Leadbelly, Fats Waller, Bach and Thomas Tallis and other recorded effects...There are many small light sources, amplified sounds, an eight-foot table with matching chair, and oddities, humor, and excitement.  Despite this laundry list of materials, it is quite of a piece, aesthetically, and makes a sort of effective visceral sense (I am told)"
[Pipes began its life in 2003 as a commission for the Naked Stages program at Intermedia Arts, a program to develop new performance art and artists funded by the Jerome Foundation.]
I'm more than intrigued, based on both this and their track record (having never let me down before), so I'll be there.

To learn more about the show and Skewed Visions, visit
(For more of my writing - plays, past blog entries and more - visit

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