Adrienne Truscott has been performing, creating work and teaching in NYC for the last ten years. Most recently, her neo-vaudevillian collaboration with Tanya Gagne, The Wau Wau sisters, was seen off-Broadway at the Ars Nova Theater and at the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival. Adrienne was a founding member of LAVA, Sarah East Johnson’s Obie and Bessie Award-winning, circus-inspired dance company. She has worked with David Neumann, Sarah Michelson, Jennifer Miller’s Circus Amok, The Bindlestiff Family Circus, Linda Austin, Jennifer Allen, Julie Atlas Muz, Murray Hill and Russian ex-pat art pranksters Khomar and Melamid, among others. Her work has been seen at Performance Space 122, Dixon Place, The Painted Bride (Philadelphia) and The Kitchen, as well as The Bowery Ballroom, CBGB’s and The Henry Fonda Theater (LA). Her new show, they will use the highways, premieres at P.S. 122 on Thursday, March 31st at 8 p.m.
1. What was the origin of they will use the highways?
I wanted to work with a friend of mine, Mauri Walton, in Philadelphia, but although we have tried to collaborate from our respective cities before, even the paltry 2 hours between the big fat apple and the city of brotherly love proved insurmountable for us – she didn’t make it to any of my rehearsals last time! Happily, this isn’t a point of contention at all. Then it hit me that if I could videotape her, then she would only have to get to NYC by dress rehearsal. So, I picked her up at her door and we shot her trip here – the concept then was that my dance would last the length of her trip -not to worry, it’s not a two hour dance piece, because we condensed the footage a bit. the only glitch was that then she didn’t get to dance much. So, I told her she should dance on the median of the NJ Turnpike with all the traffic whizzing and screaming by, and when we did it, it was funny and beautiful and sad, and felt a little bit like an elaboration on the weirdness of making dancing for your whole life in a culture that, by and large, doesn’t give a hoot about it! And so, the first thing we made use of was the highways. That was all we knew at the time. She’s funny.
2. How do you choose your collaborators?
For this piece, I think I chose people who confound me in really thrilling ways. Some of the people in the dance aren’t “dancers” per se, so their movement choices always surprise me. Natalie I have known for years and adore, but she remains endlessly mysterious and curious to me; Neal Medlyn is such an exquisitely bizarre performer, I never really know what he is doing, never, and it kills me – he is dangerous; David is a total pro who is also a total goofball and is really good at remembering steps; Carmine brings a fresh, new suburban-delaware italian-american swagger to modern dance, if that’s possible; Dickie moves like a maniac, he can’t stop. I think everybody feels that it doesn’t matter so much what you do, in terms of movement, but how you do it and what it feels like doing it. Choosing movement that you would continue to do four months later is so preposterous to me, and deeply funny, and their choices make me laugh and laugh and laugh and they will also do anything I say.
3. When and how did you start dancing?
At home with my sister and best friend, naked, for the neighbors. Then I saw Fame. [editor’s note: much of the movie Fame was filmed at P.S. 122, in the very room where they will use the highways will be performed]. Then I saw Flashdance. Then I came to New York. Some really key people along the way were Cynthia Novack and Deborah Hay who are not from Fame or Flashdance. Deborah is the funniest most punk rock choreographer I can think of and she is 65 and fucking hysterical and brilliant.
4. What is your favorite highway story?
Oh god, there are so many. I will just list a couple of images: 1987 – I visit my high school boyfriend, with his dad, in a college in Ohio. The dad accidentally destroys the car, so we hitchhike with a 300 lb. trucker who is loopy on speed and he drives us all the way back to Atlantic City in time for my field hockey game. On the way he tells us about jail and his kids. We get to sleep in that back section that always seems really cool, at least when I was a kid. 1999 – in an effort to teach me how to pull a truck with a trailer in to a gas station, my father hits a gas line, spewing gas everywhere. He pays for the gas and a Diet Coke and we pull out quickly as attendants wrestle a wild gas-spewing hose; 1996 – on a road trip from Texas to NYC, my best friend Rebecca and I run out of money, spend our last fifteen bucks on breakfast, get caught eating off of someone else’s table (we thought they had left. they hadn’t.) and sell our car at the next exit; 2002 – Tanya [Gagne] and I on tour in the pink car – we stop for gas and a nice man says, “Pink. i’m gonna remember that,” adding, “in my mind.” I think that is enough so that I don’t have to mention the strip bar off of interstate 30 in Austin.
5.What’s next for you?
The Wau Wau Sisters are working on a tv show with a fancypants guy from the real tv world – he is a rascal and likes milkshakes and knows way more people in tv land than we do. As a choreopgrapher, I am plotting a new duet with Neal Medlyn that he doesn’t even know about; plus I had two new ideas for tours – should I say them here? What if someone steals them? Well they can’t because when this is posted everyone will know it’s my idea, right? ok. one is an art tour called home is where the art is, so we can go in to rich people’s houses and see all the orignal art they own, and compare all our class differences. This might tip off art thieves, but I’m always pretty fascinated by art theft – it stands out among other crimes; the second idea is a tour of storage spaces, because I can’t believe how many huge buildings, even in this city, are set aside to store shit that you can’t
need that badly if you don’t have it in your home, when there is hardly any room to perform. Plus, you could rent your spaces for only $59.95-$79.95 and have a run for a whole month. Climate controlled. The only other thing is a patent that will revolutionize salad bars, but there is no way I’m giving that up here.