Billy Mullaney’s GEOMETRY, SEMESTER, TROCHEE, and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood at Open Eye Figure Theatre

“Too Bright”

“It would be great if you would not automatically respond with aggression when I try to give you feedback.”
I’ve been performing this Billy Mullaney sample for two years. Between “stock pho tog ra phy” and grabbing Arwen’s ass. A faux ponder. An arcing path with my chin perched on prayer hands. Twice in every run of “…radish…”. This summer the quote died for me and I substituted it out for Lizzy Fitch: “We can talk about this later, I’m going to band practice RIGHT NOW”.

Billy and I share an interest in found language and other content.

Billy’s going to NYC. A fancy four-show tour of the boroughs. In preparation, he performed it all on Michael Sommers’ puppet stage at Open Eye. It is clear that all of us gathered agree that what Billy Mullaney does is important.
Is he a nervous wreck? It’s electric.
He cites Kenneth Goldsmith.
I remind him to ask me about my recent run in with Kenny G (codeword: Carnegie Hall). But enough about me. He started with…

I think the theater-makers are jealous of the dance-makers. And they should be. But how am I jealous of the theater-makers? Spoken language is so damn linear. I love this kind of real-time tedium. Billy click-drag-cut-pastes snippets from the text book:

“…Suki plays with Leo, Sacha plays with Britt
Adolf builds a bonfire, Enrico plays with it…”
(forgive the gauche substitution)

Billy is a wonder. I’ve said it many times. Out loud. Recently. I said it to him in the hallway after another recent performance.
His physical daredevilry is so exciting to watch. I gasp in fear that he will get hurt. OMG how he went for broke while cantilevering with the big heavy table in Charles Campbell’s recent show. And the dive over it.
he likes this play-through, pre-fab, talky talky work.
I can’t wait til these two impulses find their most sparkly combination
the theater you make.

are you watching Perfume Genius?
are you watching No Face Performance Group?
I’m watching No Face right now. On Manhattan Public Access TV (online).

Please youtube Perfume Genius on Letterman:
2:48 saggy arm out
2:51 hand on hip…dissolve into figure 8 with tongue in cheek
3:10 so much tension (obsessed with perfect pitch?)
3:21 shimmy
3:24 eyes up to the balcony
3:27 first and only smile

I am thrilled watching Perfy G in this awkward growth phase. I believe I’m watching him test the waters for how to come out from behind the keyboard. I love the wilting-flower-delicate-waif-accompany-self-on-the-piano Perfume Genius. And I’m cheering him on in the white-suit-Bowie-wanna-be he’s trying on. He’s SO not there yet but I love watching him dart between the two possibilities.

Do you enjoy the matchy-matchy as I do? The time-code for the video. Me telling you what you’ll see and then you see it? Is this basically what Conceptual Art is (not really, but…)? You puppeteer the text book. It’s a nice specific object (heft, laminated outside, stuffed paper scraps).
This is charming.
But maybe more in the making than the witnessing.

I can’t remember being in an audience so leaning in, panting with the performer all the way to the finish line, desperate for our opportunity to applaud.

The macrame of the the visual, physical, verbal double bouncing off of each other.

I fucking loved SEMESTER.

And Charles Campbell is such a virtuosic talker. In a dancerly way. I appreciate the support of breath, the efficiency of lip.

I find the ratio of part and whole much more interesting here than in GEOMETRY.
What should we take and what should we trash from Kenny G’s example?

IV. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood
I was puzzled by the inclusion of this piece on November 18 but super stimulated by it as I set to write. Perhaps this is the most ruthless section. A tiny part of my personal mythology was destroyed in the aftermath.


Billy Mullaney’s GEOMETRY, SEMESTER, TROCHEE, and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood
at Open Eye Figure Theatre
November 18, 2014
writing by Kristin Van Loon


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