Tuesday, September 2, 2014

"Trade Practices" on Governors Island: "Dude, money is crazy!"

Scenes from HERE's Trade Practices
Above, l-r: Daphne Gaines, Mary Rasmussen, Peter McCabe
Below, l-r: Mike Iveson, Jr., Peter McCabe, Dax Valdes
(photos by Carl Skutsch)

A theme as weighty as the financial collapse of 2008, the hand basket we found ourselves in, and what money means in American society might take a project as big, as intricately textured and as labored upon--by a list of collaborators as long as my two arms and two legs spliced end to end--as Trade Practices, created by HERE artistic director Kristin Marting and David Evans Morris. A two-hour event directed by Marting and set in Governors Island's Pershing Hall, the site-specific, multimedia, physical theater performance is audience-immersive and interactive to the max, a game of "high-stakes" investor role-playing on our part as we move among rooms and storylines. It also has song-and-dance numbers, undercurrents of soap opera and even a bloodcurdling touch of the supernatural.

Clearly the entire creative team had a blast growing the witty, rousing Trade Practices and making the ten actors work their sweaty butts off--most notably, Daniel Kublick who, with all his physical might, gamely throws himself into his role as a roguish factory foreman. Tip: If you go, you'll sweat, too. This year for sure, Labor Day doesn't really mean the end of summer, and few of these Pershing Hall rooms have A/C.
Above and below: details from Works Progress Administration military history murals
inside Pershing Hall, Governors Island's former Administration building
(c)2014, Eva Yaa Asantewaa
Trade Practices--written by Erin CourtneyEisa DavisRobert LyonsQui NguyenKJ Sanchez and Chris Wells--introduces us to the fictional Tender family and employees of Tender, Inc., proud paper manufacturers who go back centuries in New England and US history. Tender's CEO, played by the versatile Peter McCabe, would like to keep some of that New England history (and all of the corporation's current troubles) under wraps. Audience members get to trade shares in Tender, Inc. and witness the secret damage and debris from extremely close vantage points. Cast members' performances, and your own, can be fun even if this sort of thing--high finance, corporate intrigue--is so not your thing. Each viewer's experience will differ according to the storylines followed; if you find yourself disengaged, as I did at one point, you'll have a few opportunities to trade your shares for something potentially more promising.
L-r: Daniel Kublick, Dax Valdes and Mariana Newhard
(photo by Carl Skutsch)
Trade Practices runs through September 21 with performances by Jenniffer DiazDaphne GainesMegan Hill, Brooke Ishibashi, Mike Iveson, Jr., Daniel Kublick, Peter McCabe, Mariana Newhard, Mary Rasmussen and Dax Valdes. Click here for full details, including performance schedules, ticketing and Governors Island ferry departures from Manhattan and Brooklyn. Enjoy Governors Island.

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