What can I say? Much love to the City of Wind and the talent getting airplay.
Its weird. I slow my posting and somehow I end up with more hits then before. Lots of comments and lots of new incoming links (specifically from VCU). I know the site has changed/evolved because I went back to read the first month’s worth of posts. I’m not reviewing shows with the focused dedication I used to. I’m not even giving you the quick jabs of the SeeSawS.
Sorry. I need to keep this exciting for myself and there are other things I want to accomplish. Still trying to figure out what to do. But in the meantime, I wanted to jump into the discussions on Cult of Color. I wasn’t sure where I should add my thoughts; Sanford’s, Zimmerman’s, Fitzgerald’s, Lozano’s or Austinist’s or the Chronicle’s comment section. So I’ll just spill my guts here.
I was lucky enough to score some seats for the big opening night on Saturday. I got there early and parked across the street (just as they suggested). No fuss, no muss. Went in, checked my tickets, grabbed the program, drank some water at the fountain, went to the potty and sat down in the theater.
At this point, I’m thinking ’bout my experience with theater, dance and art performances in general. My required intro to Theater & Dance course in college put me in the theater for some plays. My intro to Western Music course put me in the theater for some symphonic evenings. In the summer, wifey and I got hooked on Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance and then PBS’ Ballroom dancing. I kept all of this in mind when Julie Taymor’s Lion King was in town. That production let me down. Gestures were not as tight as they could have been, lines weren’t always delivered convincingly. I thought maybe knowing the story back and front from hundreds of viewings of the Disney movie and having years of hype preceding it spoiled it for me?
So I make the decision not to read the program notes and rely solely on what is shown in front of me. Sure, I was cursorily familiar with Trenton Doyle Hancock’s universe, but beyond the terms Torpedo Boy, Mounds, mound-meat, Vegans and Sesom I couldn’t really describe what he’s doing. The lights go down and the first group of dancers come out to play. I make sure to note their movements as I know it is important in recognizing characters in dance. They certainly didn’t move as normal human beings, but it wasn’t any extreme limb contorting. It is a dance after all. They reminded me of the Smurfs, sans the blue skin. I don’t know if it was this early association that I make, but I thought a lot about cartoons throughout the performance. After the Smurfs clear out, Sesom is introduced and shortly after Painter comes in and seduces him. They dance around for a bit before heading up to the forest where a dancing Mound happily bounces in place. Frightened and shivering, Sesom tries to run away, but Painter convinces him to reach inside and pullout a handful of moundmeat.
When he realizes what he holds in his hands, there is an obvious change in his demeanor. Sesom is infatuated with this block of pink flesh. Sesom recruits a crew and they all go to get a piece of mound meat of their own. This is the part that sticks out in my mind as the important device of the narrative. This crew of Vegans is in ecstasy. The figures are writhing on the floor, erotically caressing their bodies with these blocks of meat. It makes them feel so good that they want to tell everyone. The problem is that not everyone wants to feel good. Betto likes his grouchy, conceited mood. After being scolded, Sesom and crew try to continue their pleasure in secrecy. After refilling on mound meat, they place pieces inside the “magic vagina” (come on and tell me that isn’t what you called it!). For every mound meat inserted it spits out a colorful egg. With enough meat, it gives birth to Power Rangers! Soon it is an orgy of dance as Vegans and Color Babies alike roll around in joy. Betto ominously hangs around the background. Then back in the cave Betto is all moody as Vegans dance around him. He grabs one and chokes it until it goes limp. The lights go down.
End Act 1. The music was appropriate. The main characters had their own motifs and the jubilant scenes would have this peppy beat that reminded me of Scooby-Doo chase scenes. It was interesting hearing Betto’s music because it sounded like a video game score when you are about to fight a level boss.
(part 2 later tonight)
I’ll tell you ’bout what I sees.