Fire Drill and Eben Kowler, by Kenna Cottman

time had a job
black and white houndstooth, mock neck body suits
a man and a woman
a woman with a short glossy bob ( i likes i likes)
bare feet
a pool of light that kept flashing on and off
a soundscape like flicking through tv channels
6 second scenarios (i know this cuz i read the proposal, but I wonder if i would have counted if i hand’t known ahead of time)
facial expressions: disgust, goofy, pain from heat, sadness, happiness, unsure of yourself, sure of yourself
movements – some very dance, some tap, some random, some very classical, some modern dance, some post modern tropes
acting – lots of it was acting to me
there was one serious moment – 46 people died in a fire
they fell down hard
run as far as you can and run back
unison modern dance turning move
jumping with hands down and flipping parallel to the floor right and left
tap dance
booties jiggling (i know yall think yall twerking but nah)
wining (man trying to wine woman doing a good wine)
overall the woman(emily) is more comfortable with the movement, but they are equally comfortable onstage and performing and acting and emoting and actually moving.  its more that the woman is a “TRAINED DANCER” and you can see it in certain movement sequences or the lack thereof in certain movements that the man does.  i was peeping the tap pretty closely because tap in bare feet you can see how much rhythm a person really has and they had it.
he stood behind her and yelled and she mouthed the words
they kissed in that frantic comical way
they argued like right after that or one scene after
‘you are our favorite’
the clapping that gets faster and faster till it become applause
middle fingers
knock knock
I think these were two bits that people were supposed to  interact but it was too slow – the audience was too slow to get it.  i got it after the light went out.  then i wondered what if i wanted to go back, how could i force them to go back?
its an impressive amount of work to do, but I only know that because I read the description
without the description its just a collection of scenarios, put one after another you just learn it like a dance, like choreography that has a resting place in the same place every six seconds.
i know making this kind of work that has a n elaborate process and distinct rules for creating it.
it doesn’t always show through in the finished work
as a way of making work its great
as a performance it gets redundant and we get it after about three minutes so whats more interesting? the concept or what your are doing in those 6 second space.  I can feel you struggling for fresh material because even staying true to your process won’t result in something thats new for the audience necessarily..
now i was with a homegirl who didn’t read the description but those are actually her words ‘i got it after about 3 minutes and it became redundant’  Both of us appreciate the freeness with which these white people create art though.  Its audacious and provocative and even bratty, but its sure not bound.  Its free.
As a piece of dance I don’t think it works.  Time already has a few jobs.  As a performance piece I guess it works but I want to be able to walk away from it and come back if I want to.  I declare that it works best as a nonstop video loop or a gallery installation.  It would be good for Northern Spark – all night long, 6 seconds flashing into the night.
Youngest Child
I didn’t know the name till after.
two bodies under a sheet and an arm and leg that keeps on sticking out of the curtain
somebody runs up the steps
i didn’t see kara did she start up there?
long hair gals crawl out from under the sheet and two gals do some stair work. kara looks like shes smiling maniacally and shaking her head in a tiny tiny way but i don’t know if im trippin…
those two come down
someone brings an amp with fur out.  its not plugged in does it have a battery? can i not see the cord?
two long hair Maggie and Margaret dance on the wall
they also do a body thread thing that looks like a bboy doing threads but its two white ladies and one is laying on the floor and the other one is standing – threading with limbs and torso.
everyone has something gold on
now i start to notice the hair.  kara’s hair is big like mine – it would just get bigger not longer.  one girl karen hair is straight and mid range and m and m got long wavy hair.  looks nice.  kara has two bows – two golden bows.  everyone else is just plain.  sometimes the hair moves and gets in the face.  there is a lyric about that? is there?  there is singing on the fender mic standing behind the margret that starts to get totally manicall with the movement.  is it putting on makeup?  reminds me of the ghanaian dance where you twist your waist while you pretend you putting makeup and fixing your hair and doing whatever – its like its no big deal that your waist is twisting like crazy.  but there whole bodies started going crazy with the face powder, lipstick, and the like no, no, no, cut, cut, cut.  brushing or waxing the lower limbs with the hands.  that first music came on and it was like an old song about…? girls?  a girl and how fine she is? white guy singing like ‘got me a cadillac caaaar.’ in dreamgirls.
flipping back and forth over on the floor by dragging their legs back and forth.  right at the edge of the stage.  a few times they used the edge of the stage like hanging off while doing that flipping.  crawling right off the edge of the stage with the sheet over, and two girls flew off the stage right side by the door and looked like they were really tumbling.
there was a dance to a poppy song – they stood and danced it was alright and well danced but not that evocative.
then they were speaking on the fender and holding it but one girl did not have the mic but she was talking anyways
i wonder if this was about femininity in any way, or maybe just the fact that it was danced by women. There seemed to be some sexy poses and something going on with the hair.  There seemed to be some commentary on girls/women, maybe not commentary, maybe just musings or abstractions or explorations are better words than ‘commentary’.
there was a part that seemed like an exercise, where one person does a movement and everyone follows – but its a game like you are not supposed to be able to tell who is leading the movement.  And when you play the game you have one person that is trying to guess whos the leader and I felt like that person.  They stood in a semi circle and smiled at each other during this section.
i would love to say something really strong about the work but it felt level in a way that was pleasant, satisfying.  I got ideas in my head as I watched it, so that’s one test of good work in my book.  I appreciated the way the work was performed with full body and commitment, and its abstract, so its comfortable for me. I like the performers: what does that mean?? I’ll consume their bodies and their expressions, i get emotional pleasure from the presence of those performers on stage.  That cannot be the point of art, so why does it even bear saying? That I like the performers.  Eben is a young man that I know, just from dancing, i don’t know his life. I like what I know about him. So what? It made me interested to see his work – liking him. The speech at the end: i just want to say, God gave you twice as many ears and mouths.  Something else about listening.  She introduced herself as a rep of the others – reminded me of Slate podcasts.  You’re probably ready for this to be over now…. Hm what else was said?  I wonder wonder wonder what this work is for him.  I feel like it was a window into his brain, the work felt very thought through, solid.  But it also rambled.  Sections went into the next and we never went back or even referenced the material that came previously. And it was “DIVERSE” not saying he had Black people but that the sections were all different and they were seamless.  It wasn’t a forced transition, i just realized I was in a new moment.

Fire Drill, Time Had a Job

Eben Kowler, Youngest Child

Works in Progress/New Works 4 Weeks

Red Eye Theater

May 29-June 1, 2014

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