The Charlotte Salomon Project: Life? Or Theater?
What are you doing tonight? Tomorrow? Friday? Saturday? Sunday?
Do yourself a favor, put the TV remote down, stop googling your ex-girlfriend and pony up the $15 to see Polybe and Seats’ new play The Charlotte Salomon Project: Life? Or Theater? at the rockin’ Brooklyn Fireproof (L train to Lorimer; G to Metropolitan). You will not be disappointed…or bored. Tickets selling fast! It’s even worth being on the wait list! Do it!
You can always catch a repeat of Lost or Grey’s Anatomy at abc.com but this is the final weekend of Charlotte, so get a move on. And for those of you who haven’t figured it out yet, yes, one of the producers is my boss. But even if she weren’t I’d be just as adamant that you check out this unique theatrical experience. She’s not even aware that I’m sitting here in our office writing this when I should probably be doing something else. And if that’s not dedication, I don’t know what is. But enough about me, here’s some information about the show:
The first 20 minutes of the performance are an interactive art installation that will fill you in on the background of Charlotte Salomon. The real sit-down, shut-off your cell phones part of the show is about 60ish minutes, and it is a staging of Salomon’s opus Life? or Theater?
Salomon was raised by her father and stepmother after her mother flung herself of the balcony of the family’s apartment. Salomon, however, went through much of her formative years thinking her mother died of influenza. It’s amazing what parents got away with back in the dizzay. Her stepmother was a well-known opera singer affiliated with the kulturbund, and Salomon realized her desire to be a painter at a young age. Upon learning of her mother’s suicide during a stay wiht her maternal grandparents (at this time she also learned that her aunt and many other members of her extended family on her mother’s side had also comitted suicide) Salomon began to, quite naturally, have some anxiety her own life. However, from this tragic realization came the inspiration to create Life? or Theater?, a fictional autobiography in the form of some several hundred paintings with text and music cues. The paintings remind me of a poignant blend of Chagall and Cezanne. Salomon’s L?orT? is a visceral representation of the inward life of a young artist, complete with fictionalized versions of her friends and family, that derives most of its emotional resonance from Salomon’s overt desire to share her story with an audience despite her feelings of loss and solitude. Salomon was also a master of the ascerbic, vaguely nonsequitorial wit we hispters aspire to, and I think it’s safe to say that her story, though created in WWII, translates quite easily to our time and place. Polybe and Seats manage to capture Salomon’s humor and tragedy without belying either. And most interesting to me, they’ve managed to take a sated work of art and recontextualize it through a different media with great success.
It is now 5:27PM, and I’d like to get out of the office and go home. But if you’re at all interested in art history, European history, experimental theater or this great emerging theater company called Polybe and Seats, GO SEE THE SHOW. (And write about it if you’re a member of any sort of publication.)