Fred Herko was a dancer, an actor, a choreographer, and he took a bath and got out and danced naked in front of his friend to Mozart, finally dancing out of a window to his death. I am a dancer, an actor, a choreographer, and I love taking baths and I have danced naked though have yet to jeté out a window. I have often talked about suicide with my childhood friend Reid Bartelme. Reid will join me in the work. Reid is a beautiful dancer. Reid will make sure I don’t jump.
– Jack FerverI'd say there you have it in a nutshell, except there you don't have it.
Jack Ferver's duet with Reid Bartelme, Night Light Bright Light--an American Realness presentation at Abrons Arts Center--runs faster than you can and will leave you panting. It is death-ridden but keeps its audience chuckling. Chock-full of play and humor, nevertheless it harbors the terrible and the irrevocable. It dwells in absurdity as well as precision, grandiosity as well as sincerity, trauma as well as release. There's so much splicing (convulsions of narrative, of tone) from moment to moment that one can get rather annoyed at Mr. Ferver even while marveling at his adorableness. I'm convinced that, with every performance, Ferver must turn his audience into his collective therapist, and that his actual one is somewhere out there in the night, grappling with confusion and doubt and self-medication.
Ballet, sex, torture, anxiety, singing, laughter, death, Tennesee Williams. These things belong together? Well, of course they do! But see for yourself as the wondrous Night Light Bright Light repeats tomorrow night at 10pm and Sunday, January 18, 7pm. For information and tickets, click here.
For details about other American Realness festival events at Abrons Arts Center and beyond, click here.
Abrons Arts Center
466 Grand Street, Manhattan