Chunky Move: Two Faced Bastard


I just rolled in from the performance of "Two Faced Bastard" by the Australian dance company, Chunky Move--the last company to be presented by White Bird in its "Uncaged" series this season. This time White Bird took over the gymnasium at the 10th Avenue Athletic Club at the YWCA on SW 10th.

Here are three excuses for not writing a real review tonight:

1) I don't want to give anything away because it's a show full of surprises and secrets.

2) It's late and tax day has wrung me dry.

3) The house was swarming with real critics like Martha Ullman West and Marty Hughley, and that may have been Barry Johnson I spotted across the gymnasium.

(I suppose, "swarming" is a bit of hyperbole when talking about three people, but notice how putting those names in boldface type classes this post up a little. I could list whole bunches of boldface names I spotted at the performance and make this a regular society column if I wanted to).

So quickly: I was grinning the entire time. The show is a mix of theater and dance -- choreography with touches of Pinter, Beckett and Kafka, a little exegesis on the nature of performance and art, and some slapstick. Oh, and a battle scene that leaves the stage strewn with debris, and a solo that is achingly beautiful. The audience sits on opposite sides of the gymnasium. A slatted curtain divides the stage with different action happening on each sides -- some hidden, some seen in flashes only, some spilling between the two halves. At midpoint the house lights come up, the action is paused and the audience is invited to move to their opposite side if they so choose. (I stuck with the northsiders throughout). White Bird is offering to sell a $10 ticket to anyone with a ticket stub who wants to see the show again from a new angle. I bet they're going to have a lot of takers.

Hint and/or spoiler: I was completely satisfied with what I experienced from the north side. However, while we spent the first 10-15 minutes witnessing a kind of panel discussion with only glimpses of dance (the women next to me took the opportunity to read her program and fidget), the other half of the audience was treated to a solo beautifully danced by Stephanie Lake(or so I was told). But really, there were parts that we saw that they missed, and Ms. Lake does another solo turn at the end. And the panel discussion was quite absurdist. In other words, pick a side, enjoy what you're seeing and imagine what's going on across the curtain when you hear everyone over there laughing like crazy. Your turn will come soon enough.

5 comments:

Marty said...

Nice to know you think I'm "real" -- at least as a critic.

I enjoyed your take on the show (which I saw from the opposite side, by the way).

My comments are here:
http://www.oregonlive.com/performance/index.ssf/2009/04/_from_one_perspective_chunky.html

MightyToyCannon said...

Marty, I enjoyed your review. It made me want to see the show from the south (or "ether") side. Unfortunately, this weekend's gorgeous weather made me loathe to spend any time in a gymnasium, not matter how great the dance.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they can create an outdoor version: "Tan-Faced Bastard."

MightyToyCannon said...

I like the "Tan Faced Bastard" idea, though in Portland, an outdoor performance could quickly turn into "Wet Faced Bastard."

Marty said...

Yeah, that's what happened with Tahni Holt's show recently. Except that the dancers were indoors and the audience outside; so WE were the wet-faced bastards!

(Also, don't know why I posted that "tan" comment anonymously. Just technologically challlenged, I guess.)