Mars Life


Look out for that panda!

Hello, true believers, on Friday night (aside from winning 10 dollars at a small game of Texas Hold'em poker) I went out to see a show, and thought I'd talk about it a little here today.
The show I saw was entitled "Performance of Sleep in one long act without intermission". It's a performance art show that's currently running in the Athenaeum as part of the PAC/edge festival, being put up by a group called improvolympic, with the ensemble Traffic and Weather. I was quite thrilled to see that there were already artists out there in my own town who were cross pollinating drawn and stage media. Add to that the fact that they also cross media by incorporating sound and film, which I've also been enamored with before, and I knew I wanted to see what these guys were up to.

So there I was, reaching out to a creative group here in town to see what they were up to, emailing to see if they had any upcoming performances. Little did I know, they were in the middle of the run of one as I emailed. What fortuitous timing! I immediately reserved a spot on my calendar for the April 1st performance, and waited with anticipation.

Fast forward to April 1st, and here I am, making my way to the Athenaeum theater on Southport and Wellington, wondering just what it is I'll see. I sat in the front row, just for the mere fact that I'd wanted to sit as close to center and still allow people still coming in to get to the side seats in case the place packed up. As it turned out, I was the only person to sit in the front row. Whoops, way to draw focus, Mars.

So then, onto the show. What I first see is a bit performance artist-y for me, and I'm reminded of the joke my Life Drawing teacher had told me months before, (How many performance artists does it take to screw in a light bulb? I don't know, I left early) and I'm wondering if the coming to the show was a mistake. However, after a bit, I start to see the themes develop, and it really did have a very nice throughline and story to it, and told in a very smart way. The show itself explores the metaphor of sleep for death, and the varying stages thereof. There are several "kids science" bits in the show that I thought were a clever way of introducing the necessary information that still remained entertaining. When it came to story elements, exposition was handled nicely without treating the audience as dumb. The characters engaged me, and were well played for the most part, though most of the time it was a bit easy to figure out who excelled in drawing or performance, mostly just by what they were doing on stage.

Actually, the most incredible part of this all was the timeliness of the subject matter. Before considering how incredible it was, one has to think about the fact that this show involves writing, casting, rehearsing, and producing complicated multimedia aspects, all of which must have easily taken several months to prepare. With a show that explores the metaphorical relationship between sleep and death, a good part focused on persistent vegetative state. Now I saw it on April 1st, the day after Terry Schiavo died. Now THAT's timing. Fortuitous, maybe, but I've never been one to take coincidences lightly.

So in conclusion, if you're open enough to performance art that leans toward the theater side of things but incorporates well put together multimedia and a panda suit, go see it! It's a lot of fun!

Until next time, more to come...


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