Wednesday, July 28, 2010

dinos and dancing

Part two of our exciting workshop series featured Jo Breslin and Jill Cowley, two senior theatre instructors in Dance from De Montfort University in Leicester. I met them also in May in Austria and was very excited and grateful that they would travel almost three hours to work with our students. They did a similar workshop to the one I attended, a collaboration workshop which really challenges the participants to look at the ways they interact with others in collaborative arts projects. The students had to create 2 minute story pieces with movement, but were given secret specific instructions. Some were told to waste time by talking. Some were told to be hostile and unresponsive. Some were told to do whatever the group told them to do. These instructions had really interesting effects on the outcomes of the pieces. In the end, it didn't matter what the product was; the process is what everybody wants to talk about. When I did this workshop in May I realized I'm much more of a control freak than I ever knew. Like, a really bad control freak. Underneath my calm, cool, bespectacled facade I'm basically Hitler. Anyway, the students seemed to really respond to the workshop, and hopefully it will help them with Rappaccini's Daughter, the show they'll be performing in Edinburgh in two weeks.

We got to catch a matinee performance of Enron today. Enron just closed on Broadway after only running briefly; but it's no secret why. It's difficult to watch British people criticize and lampoon American business ethics, even if they are 100% correct to do so. The show's been running in London now for over year. They like it. It basically tells the story of Enron's corporate downfall, complete with light sabers, velociraptors, and Wall Street traders hip hop dancing. It's entertaining, provoking, and clever, but it didn't do much for me. I felt the acting was a little flat. It was a matinee, and I felt we got a matinee performance. Yawns. It's a piece that needs a dynamic energy and commitment; what we got was about as dangerous as Driving Miss Daisy. Step it up, guys.

We headed to Islington for our second show, Eonnagata. When I go to Islington, and this was technically only my second time so I shouldn't act like I know anything about it, I think about Hugh Grant in About a Boy. Because he lived in Islington in that movie. Anyway, we had a little time for dinner, so Scott and Alta and I had some nice Thai food at a corner restaraunt. I ordered a chicken curry, and magically what I got was a plate that looked like chicken curry but tasted like Satan's Special Hot Sauce Fire Extravaganza. I don't know what they put in that entree, but it was hotter than Georgia asphalt. I'm still sweating. I don't know who you people are that brag about liking spicy food. You do realize that you CAN'T TASTE ANYTHING WHEN YOUR MOUTH IS ON FIRE, right? Another thing I remember about that meal, besides the nice conversation with the Stringhams, is that our waitress dropped a kidney stone or something while she was running my credit card. She kept clutching her side and moaning. And I would say "Are you OK?" "Would you like to sit down?" but she was bound and determined to get that Visa approved! That's some good customer service.

While in Islington I found a street dedicated to one of my all time favorite guys:

Eonngata was a dance show at Sadler's Wells Theatre. I like Sadler's Wells because it's fancy and modern and new. Eonnagata is a three person modern dance piece about the Chevalier D'Eon, a spy who masqueraded as a woman during the French revolution. I thought it was visually stunning. The lights were fantastic, and the costumes were designed by Alexander McQueen, the offbeat English designer who committed suicide last Spring. I don't have much of a dance vocabulary, but I thought the dancing was fascinating and served to tell a very clear and interesting story. There was a lot of gender business going on, and they kept running around in these nude body suits with veins on them, just like Mr. Body. And sometimes I would think they actually were naked for a few seconds. Anyway, what if they were naked? I'm not judging! It's art. Just kidding, it's gross.