So it’s fair to say that I love live theatre in pretty much any form. Dance, theatre, opera, the symphony, performance art. If I had all the money in the world I would go every night! I love the sense of becoming immersed in another world and reflecting on life’s truths. As I am not performing as much any more I find I crave this emotional connection to the art I see. I want to be challenged, to feel something and be provoked to see life in a different way.
This weekend I went to see THE DAY SHALL DECLARE IT created by Wilderness and produced by Los Angeles Performance Practice. I am always thrilled to support the arts in LA. The city holds amazing talent and creativity but it is often hard to find. And I think it is our duty and so important to support smaller companies.
I was intrigued by this show because it tells a story through both dance and text within the environment of a raw, urban space. With a nod to SLEEP NO MORE by Punchdrunk, the audience becomes a part of the show as the actors weave amongst us and move us physically in the space. This site – specific show draws inspiration from the early writings of Tennesse Williams and is set during the Great Depression dealing with the effects of one’s work. You immediately feel the relevancy of this issue in 2015. Our work still consumes us, drives us, identifies us and pushes us both closer and farther away from one another.
Located in the Downtown LA Arts district, we walked through an unmarked warehouse door and were immediately transported into a labyrinth type space dressed in low lighting. As our eyes adjusted to the light we could see both a bar and through a door, a bedroom. The bedroom was cluttered with clothes drying on a line and a sink filled with dirty dishes. I could feel the heaviness and claustrophobia immediately. A man and woman emerged playfully flirting and dancing. You could tell they had just met. As the scene unfolds you feel the passage of time and the oppressiveness that has crept in as their love for each other (or lack of it) ceases to exist.
The couple emulated the push and pull of their emotions through the choreography. Nothing is calm or easy, you feel them separating from each other as the audience is then pulled into another room. In this next scene we are the voyeurs looking into an small office through a set of blinds. In the background you hear the driving sound of a ticking clock; the sound gnaws at you.
As we follow the actors into the final scene you are surrounded by a raw, empty space and the sense of the abstract. In the center of the room is an empty bathtub with stark lighting that wonderfully draws the eye’s focus. Here we have a man and the same woman from before dancing with, over, under and against the tub and you immediately feel their need and desire for each other. For me this section worked the best. I loved the staging and set design and I also found the movement to be the most interesting. As the play ends, the final image is of the couple tangled in each other’s limbs cocooned by the tub.
What I love about a show like this is to be allowed into the space with the performers, feeling their breath and seeing their sweat. The intimacy between the audience and the performers gives you the chance to see and feel the nuance.
As a performer it is a special moment when you can feed off of the audiences energy. I cannot say THE DAY SHALL DECLARE IT was the best show I have ever seen but I enjoyed the evening and I am happy to see provocative work like this coming to LA.
Right after the show my friend Sundara and I jetted back downtown for a fabulous dinner at Faith & Flower!