Political Theatre’s Big: There’s a lot of buzz these days about political theatre right now, what with Belarus Free Theatre (whose NYC-run at Under the Radar ends this weekend) having become a cause celebre, the Iranians having shut down Hedda Gabler for its obscene content, and the ongoing clusterfuck in Hungary as a right-wing government maintains its commitment to Arrow Cross-style suppression Western democratic norms. The idea that theatre can challenge the dominant paradigm has Western artists swooning, though as I’ve pointed out before, if you don’t live in police state that denies the majority its voice, choir preaching doesn’t count as effective political engagement.
Toronto Dance Fights Its Isolation: All performance is local. It’s the magic of the live arts. Of course, the irony is that any locality has only a limited amount of funds, so the dream for any serious contemporary performance artist is the sought-after tour circuit. Disappointed by a lack of local festivals showcasing their talent, Toronto’s dance community has set up their own showcase, going down this weekend, both for the public and–more importantly–eight or so presenters from “Ireland, Germany and Canada.”
The A.W.A.R.D. Show SF: Last night, everyone’s favorite-cum-totally last year’s news dance competition The A.W.A.R.D. Show kicked off in SF at ODC, where 12 Bay Area choreographers compete for up to $10,000 in grant money. Unfortunately, we don’t know too many of them, but there’s at least two artists this author is familiar with, both of whom are up tomorrow: Jacinta Vlach of Liberation Dance Theater, a socially and politically engaged dance company who was SF’s contribution to the SCUBA National Tour Network last year, and Jodi Lomask of capacitor performance, a company that produces work by engaging with scientists and whose Biome, about the sub-ecosystem of the rainforest canopy, was a remarkably cool piece of performance. Merde to all involved.
Portland Theatre Fest: Next week, Portland, Oregon’s Fertile Ground Festival kicks off, ten days of new work by area artists. In my experience (and it’s my hometown, but I haven’t lived there for ten years), Portland is a really odd place to make art–cheap rents and a super hip, laid back urban core makes it a great place to live and make work, but it suffers from a depressing lack of arts infrastructure with only a nascent ecology for supporting new work. A glance at the line-up suggests that Fertile Grounds is almost like a Portland fringe fest, but there’s at least one show I know is a stand-out: Erin Leddy’s My Mind Is Like an Open Meadow. Leddy’s a member of Portland’s most prominent devised theatre company Hand2Mouth, and has become the second member to develop a solo show in the company’s laboratory, following fellow H2M artist Faith Helma, who brough her solo vocal performance adaptation of Undine to the then-Ontological-Hysteric Incubator in ’09. Leddy’s show debuted in a festival format at On the Boards in Seattle in June, and pretty much everyone agreed it was a stand-out, so if you’re in Portland, be sure to check it out.
10 Things for Dance to Be Thinking About: DanceUSA has a list of ten things to be on every dance company’s mind this year, and while I don’t agree with all of Marc Kirschner’s analyses (nor with exclusion of, um, us from his list of “new media” sites covering dance), it’s as good a starting place as I can imagine.
CBOT News: Just a friendly reminded: this Saturday at 3 p.m., our own founding editor Andy Horwitz is moderating a panel discussion exploring the relationship between Tennessee Williams and avant-garde theatre. Coinciding with Travis Chamberlain’s chamber production of Green Eyes starring Erin Markey (and with the Wooster Group’s Vieux Carre coming up at BAC next month), the panel includes Chamberlain, Elizabeth LeCompte, Moises Kaufman, and and David Herskovitz. It takes place at the Museum of Arts and Design; RSVP by emailing nycgreeneyes(at)gmail.com.