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Friday, February 18, 2011

Looking at "Madness," again

It's that nutty Danspace Project again, presenting PLATFORM 2011: Body Madness, Part 1 - Absurdity & Wit, curated by Judy Hussie-Taylor, this time with New York's Ursula Eagly and Minneapolis's Chris Schlichting sharing a show. Okay, now that's out of the way.

I really think you should encounter the Eagly team's Group Dynamics and Visual Sensitivity without a lot of preparation. So I'm only going to say that I loved it for the way it flips and shuffles two-dimensionality and three-dimensionality. Its guided imagery approach is a presentational, storytelling idea that works, perhaps to a scary degree, and we're invited to join the artists in making it work. It can be an amazing experience. (Created by Eagly in collaboration with Lindsey Dietz Marchant, Jesse Harold, Abby Harris Holmes and Jeremy Holmes).

In the solo Public Hair, Schlichting's immediate advantage is that he looks and moves like the kind of guy whose face might end up on the front page of a tabloid newspaper for all the wrong reasons. Bursting through the front door, he looms in the silent space, a figure with no discernible standout features, his arms hanging listlessly at his sides, his buttoned-down shirt and pullover sweater and plain dark slacks containing him but saying nothing at all about him.

And yet, as you watch Schlichting trace the air around his lips--as if he's applying Chapstick or even lipstick--he gives you the creeps. The circling gesture grows larger, jerkier, taking in the entire head. Just as it becomes quite violent in force, he retracts his energy and simply drifts away to other unusually odd and suspicious postures and gestures.

Schlichting is a maker of images bent and broken, an interesting crafter of tiny and big things. He relates to the church's space quite well, in unexpected ways, as well as ways that make you want to get out the cleaning supplies and scrub it down.

But the weirdest thing for me was leaving St. Mark's and having a stranger approach me at the door.

"Is the early show over?" he asked.

"Well, yes, the show's over," I replied.

"What was it about?"

A combination of my exhaustion from an unexpectedly demanding day and the effects of Eagly's piece had left me desperately sleepy and less than articulate. And besides, how was I even to begin explaining "PLATFORM 2011: Body Madness, Part 1 - Absurdity & Wit, curated by Judy Hussie-Taylor, this time with New York's Ursula Eagly and Minneapolis's Chris Schlichting sharing a show" to some guy lurking outside the door?

(Earlier in the day, I had struggled to explain "PLATFORM 2011: Body Madness, Part 1 - Absurdity & Wit, curated by Judy Hussie-Taylor, this time with New York's Ursula Eagly and Minneapolis's Chris Schlichting sharing a show" to my sister-in-law. But don't worry: My sister-in-law's a smart cookie, and that eventually worked out well.)

I looked at this guy and mumbled something vague, and that seemed to be enough. But then he asked me:

"Would it be appropriate for a small child?"

I'm ashamed to say that, just to get away from him, I quickly told him yes.

In truth, I couldn't figure out if this show would be appropriate for a small child. Most likely not, but that might depend on the child and, really, how small are we talking?

It was all way too much for me.

Racing away from him, I thought about it: Geeze, I'm not even sure this show was appropriate for me, let alone a small child. (I'm not kidding: I woke up from a quite frightening dream in the middle of the night....)

Later, I wondered if this guy wasn't part of the show...

If you happen to encounter him outside St. Mark's, do let me know.

Ursula Eagly and Chris Schlichting: A Shared Evening continues tonight and tomorrow at 8pm. For information and ticketing, click here.

Danspace Project
St. Mark's Church
Second Avenue and Tenth Street, Manhattan


lori said...

Ha ha!! These post performance disruptions had while attempting to reenter the earthly atmosphere can be helpful!

Eva Yaa Asantewaa said...

LOL! I love it!

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