Fire Drill, by Tara King

I love showings. It might even be true that I love showings more than shows. Some shows require all the lights and costumes, or maybe the lights and costumes are just so fantastic that it’s worth all the bother. But I love sitting up close, watching the performers fuss with music, or forget spacing, or whatever. I like the way you can’t always tell when the piece has started. You can see details, you can see decisions being made because the piece is still molten, not yet set.

Regardless, I’ll get back to Time Has a Job, to Firedrill, to Emily and Billy. This piece is full, maybe overfull. There are so many, many, many images and sounds and approaches here that I could probably write for days about it. Thankfully they package it in a tight structure: simple costumes, no props, just a pulsing pool of light and a continuous soundtrack that more or less matches up with the pulsing of the light. There’s just the two of them onstage here, and no big tricks. It gave me space and a way to handle to all that material.

35 ways you can be on stage together, no, really
43 insanely interesting ways people relate to each other
73 cool sounds I absolutely loved then totally forgot about
27 improvised moments (and 35 rehearsed ones) (you won’t believe #22)

A pool of light pulses on and off. It’s a gentle heartbeat or measured breathing, but it feels technical. When the lights go off, I see ghostly white figures moving, a burned-in afterimage moving to the next thing. I thought briefly about Caught (, which is both apt and irrelevant.

It’s an internet slideshow or a buzzfeed list–the format begins to fade into the background and instead there’s all this CONTENT washing over me. Suddenly Emily is doing ballet, suddenly they’re holding their bellies like they are pregnant. They run far away from the light and come back. The light comes up with Emily on her face and Billy on his back. There is no context and so my brain begins to build it, to contribute (What about computer animation? What about gendered bodies, or Kenny G’s 1999 Christmas song, or middle school? What about the four or five years age difference between me and Firedrill? What about memory and pop culture? What about reacting or not reacting? What about technology? What about the fact that they can’t quite keep up with the structure they built for themselves? What about relationships? What about decision making? What about rehearsal? What about things that are the same? Similar? Different? What about contrast? What about Dr. Seuss?)

I spent time identifying sound clips and movement, much of which is gestural, and then I tried correlating them but by that time they’re on to the next. Although it feels like a hundred five-second performances, it’s one 15 minute performance, broken only by our perception of the thing. It’s a sprint, it’s a marathon, it’s fifteen minutes of my life that I didn’t notice passing.

Fire Drill, Time Had a Job

Works-in-Progress, Red Eye Theater

May 29-June 1, 2014


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