“Shuttle” by Mick Douglas, Beth Weinstein, and James Oliver

Thursday, 27 June  through Sunday 30 June 2013
Ongoing: Time Observed (i.e. 6 – 9 pm; noon – 12:15 pm; Wednesday-Friday, intermittently; etc.)
Toyon Courtyard/Old Union Courtyard

Blog Response by Yasmine Jahanmir

I was naïve to think a performance entitled Shuttle would be performed in a static location. It now seems like common sense that a mobile performance piece would be in motion.

I wandered into Toyon Courtyard at about 7:20am looking for the performance and found nothing. I circled the building just in case there was a second courtyard and again found nothing. I double-checked the conference itinerary and I was indeed in the advertised location, so I gave up, got coffee, and went to a panel. As I was leaving the panel, I passed the Old Union courtyard and came upon a tent and stacked wooden boxes in the grass; one of the boxes was labeled “shuttle.” Turns out they had decided to move and had left a note which I did not see. Seizing the opportunity to be mobile with my review rather than canceling it, I asked about the performance I had missed and was immediately invited into navigating the remnants of the performance.

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“Variazioni su un Oggetto di Scena/Mr. Quill Let There Be Light/Louganis” by Luciano Chessa

Friday, 28 June 2013
10:00 pm
Pigott Theater

Blog Response by Yasmine Jahanmir

Photos by Jamie Lyons9210386981_99d32bbdfb_o

The bare stage was dark except for a pool of light focused on a center stage  grand piano. A stage hand placed what may or may not have been sheet music onto the piano and exited the stage. After a moment, with the ceremony of a concert pianist, Luciano Chessa  entered the performance space and faced the audience to present himself. Then just at the moment where this familiar symphonic scene would have him sit at the piano, he seemed to be struck by a thought, left the stage and re-entered with a large stuffed toy cow, returned to the moment in the conventional symphonic script and sat at the piano with the cow on his lap. But with another disruption in the flow of this event, Chessa manipulated the stuffed cow’s clumsy limbs over the keys of the piano. The rotund paws of the stuffed beast sloppily pounded the keys producing a cacophony of noise.  Yet, perhaps it was the sincere connection between the animate and inanimate or the joyful absurdity of memories that the childhood toy recalled, or perhaps it was the sheer exhaustion of having heard words all day, but after about thirty seconds, my ears began to hear differently and suddenly I began hearing, or perhaps imagining, a melody within the cascade of notes.  This melody which may or may not have existed became a calming meditation in the otherwise chaotic aural present of the moment. This scene opened “Variazoni,” the first part of Chessa’s larger performance entitled “Tre.” Like the larger piece, “Variazioni” dealt with themes of transmission and the painful or chaotic errors noise that arise in any type of communication. While I fear this performance trace may fall into pitfalls of cross-disciplinary analysis, as experimental music and noise are not my area of expertise,  I hope that, in the spirit of this piece, that my misreadings will at least prove productive.

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