This week: This week Brian and Matt Sussman talk with Monique Jenkinson, whose work draws from dance, theater, performance art and drag. Hot topics include: staging a guerilla fashion show in a museum, the subversive power of Disney princesses and how performers are like archives. Plus, more divas than the Daytime Emmys!
Don’t forget the apexart “Unsolicited Proposal” deadline looms large, go go now!! http://www.apexart.org/unsolicited.php
We’ll miss you Lou.
Matt says “The photo should be credited to Arturo Cosenza”.
September 27, 2013 · Print This Article
Tercer Cuerpo,the claustrophobic experimental play by Argentinian company Timbre 4 opening at the MCA next weekend, takes place, according to director Claudio Tolcachir, in â€œan office that doesnâ€™t have any more reason for being, its services have no meaning.â€Â While remaining in the office set, characters as obsolete as the space in which they laborÂ appear to act in other settings, other places. Tercer Cuerpo is partly about labor and identity, particularly the disappearance of sustainable, meaningful jobs for people. What happens to these characters, and us, when we must find meaning in our lives apart from a career or calling? The always-already obsolescence of the form of theater makes the piece of interest to representing labor in contemporary performance and medium specificity in dealing with contemporary collapses of space and time. But the company Timbre 4 is also a landmark for contemporary Argentinan art practices; their home base in the working-class Boedo neighborhood of Buenos Aires has become a hotbed and model for independent, experimental theater and performance.
Tercer Cuerpo, courtesy of the MCAÂ
This Spring MCAâ€™s Yolanda Cesta Cursach talked with Tolcachir about the approaching Chicago debut of Timbre 4. Her interview, translated by Cursach, appears below.
YC:Â Â InÂ Tercer Cuerpo, it seems the playing area is some undeniable womb for five very different biographies.
CT: Tercer Cuerpo is a fragmented tellingÂ ofÂ 5 simple stories crisscrossingÂ the solitude ofÂ these individualsÂ immenselyÂ incapable of dealingÂ with what life deals them.
The decadence of theÂ playing areaÂ reflects the characters’Â personal disorientation. They want something fromÂ their lives. Simple things.Â Things thatÂ in general can be had. But they don’t, and this situation causes them enormous shame.
What I likeÂ inÂ live theater is gettingÂ absorbedÂ andÂ atÂ the same timeÂ taken by the story toÂ an uncomfortable place.Â But this still depends on an intimate place,Â forÂ my discomfortÂ beingÂ the spectatorÂ canÂ identify withÂ the great and the small. With what is being known in my heart. In thatÂ divide betweenÂ laughingÂ at the same time that weÂ could cry is whereÂ we identifyÂ withÂ others.
YC: Timbre 4 has toured widely outside Latin America. Whatâ€™s the audienceâ€™s response to your plays?
CT: Itâ€™s fascinating, sometimes foreigners are even more demonstrative that Argentine people. I donâ€™t know if thatâ€™s because they find the plays odd. When you write a play, you think of the audience of your country. Furthermore, these plays are shown with subtitles, so I donâ€™t know whether the translations are alright or not, I just trust the translators. I remember once, in Dublin, a man asked me, â€œDid you get inspiration from an Irish family?â€ In France, for instance, people asked, â€œDo all Argentine mothers sleep with their sons?â€ European people are amazed by the fact that we Argentine artists create plays with a very low budget. They canâ€™t believe some actors rehearse for free and, even so, the plays are still amazing.
YC:Â Â You seem to be interested in alternative family ties.
CT: I believe that everything revolves around the familyâ€”building a family is building a society too. Hamlet can be a political play or a family drama. Iâ€™d rather make the spectator feel involved with the story between the characters than anything else.
YC: Timbre 4 is an ensemble. What is your connection after 12 years since formingÂ ?
CT: Our theater is aboutÂ investigation,Â and we haveÂ modestÂ beginnings keepingÂ us aware ofÂ our city’sÂ social situation andÂ the multitude of otherÂ storefront theaters’Â beginnings.Â FromÂ staying together all these yearsÂ weÂ manage to overcomeÂ the limitations ofÂ ourÂ neighborhood and of experimental theater, soÂ that we can getÂ the regeneratingÂ public which we so want to reach.
YC: Whatâ€™s the difference in Argentina between mainstream plays and storefront plays?
CT: Iâ€™ve performed a lot in mainstream theatre, as an actor. The production scheme is different. When you are directing a mainstream play, you ask for a couch and the next day you have it in the set. In off-theatre plays, you have to get in your car, start your engine, go to a market and buy the couch yourself. But then, the feeling between the actors is the same. Iâ€™ve never directed a play I didnâ€™t like. I couldnâ€™t direct a play if there was a bad working environment.
YC: Why make theater at all? What is so irrepressible about treating your writing this way?
CT: In my case it’s completely selfish.Â TheaterÂ makes me happy,Â I feel alive, excited from it,Â and to be honestÂ I’m not good for anything else. Investigation, risk,Â collaboration,Â unravelingÂ and breakingÂ routine each timeÂ never ceasesÂ toÂ seduceÂ me.
I wrote an article a few days ago on my sit down talk with Tony Fitzpatrick about his new series of work and the new show “This Train” that is appearing at The Steppenwolf theater. At the time I really wanted to have some video to go along with the post and now we do. Below is an exert from the performance which shows July 15 – August 1, 2010, enjoy.
Ah, bloody ladies and their fucked-up bloody baby dolls. I’m still counting down the days to Halloween, and if I can find a babysitter of my own, I am so going to see this woman (actually, Stacy Stoltz as Elizabeth) up close and in person when The Hypocrites perform their version of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein at the MCA Chicago from October 21 – November 1. It will be enacted “in promenade,” which means that performers intermingle with audience member on the same stage. Blurbs the MCA:
Just in time for Halloween, acclaimed Artistic Director Sean Graney and The Hypocrites take on Mary Shelley’s classic novel for an adventurous retelling of Frankenstein. Graney’s world-premiere production is performed in promenade, which places the audience onstage amidst the actors, and combines his inventive and poetic adaptation with the famous 1931 film starring Boris Karloff.
Inspired by the vast scope of Shelley’s novel and the ideas of inventors like Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, and J. Robert Oppenheimer, Graney draws from a variety of literary sources for his adaptation, including Macbeth, Prometheus Bound, Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe, and ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore by John Ford. Graney’s adaptation combines several historical versions of the gothic tale to craft a contemporary literary monster that captures the pure horror and chilling philosophy of creation carried out in the name of human advancement.
It’s like a high art version of Tony & Tina! But seriously, it’s always fun when audiences get a chance to wander around onstage while the performers do their thing–although I always wind up feeling weirdly embarrassed for the actors when I stand too close to them.Â At any rate, you can watch a video of Hypocrities founder and Frankenstein director discussing his ideas about how theater relates to Frankenstein below; tickets are $20-25, for MCA members they’re $16-20, and the student rate is $10.
In today’s world of shrinking Arts support and fickle audiences one gallery mixes the fiber of Community Outreach Theater with the frosted wheat side of Burlesque performances. Put them together and you get a show that is literally a two for one.
Now the question is can even that business model work? Theatre Yawp hopes it can.