Laurie Anderson’s To The Moon. It is a 15-minute VR experience of traveling to the moon and on the moon. The VR component felt smooth. Although it was easy to recognize some political themes such as moon landing and environment, those themes are decorative weak connections that put the piece in conversation with reality. The essence of piece to me is being launched into aesthetic fantasies: installation made of mountains from a traditional Chinese painting, rain of meteors that turn into black diamonds when hitting the ground, riding a donkey, giant flower surrounded by planets, earth rising in front of my eyes…
The Shadow Whose Prey the Hunter Becomes. I was excited to sit in a theatre and see Back to Back Theatre’s work for the first time. It is smart, intellectual, ironic, and civil, a piece I dream the culminating performance of my current project could be similar to. The language, structure, actions, and acting are near perfect. At the same time, I also feel that the form and way of approaching the topics are familiar. There are commonalities between this piece and many other works I saw in European theatre. There is almost no surprise in terms of how the performance entails forms and meanings. It is a part of a large family of certain aesthetics that has been fascinating to me. The voice behind the piece sounds so similar to many other intellectual and political voices in performance making that the level of engagement of the ensemble members became a question to me. Are they developing their thoughts and ideas? Or are they executing performances that are about them? It is probably something in between. Is it possible to find a performance voice unique to them that goes beyond acting? I’m asking too much.
Salt was a poorly made piece. I see ignorance, self-importance, self-indulgence, sentimentalism, excessive objects, excessive projections, excessive emotions, and excessive actions. I support productions of lower quality that are resulted from the lack of resources. But this is not the case for Salt. The piece is ingratiating itself to privileged white audience. It also looks like a product from the institutional assembly line in the art world. Ironically, the only direct imaginary fight back was toward a group of low-education-level lower-class Philippine crew members who followed the Italian officers to use the word nigger with probably little understanding of its context due to the lack of exposure to Black people in their growing environment. It is pitiful.
I feel good about being able to be really angry at poorly made theatre pieces. It means I still care.