Sep 17, 2006

J.H. and N.L., Part II

Right, so we are now at a moment in the performance where I don't know WHAT I think. Is this LAME or is this AWESOME? I usually don't have this ambivalence problem* but I still couldn't figure out how to judge it. Every once in a while, the dancers would do a series of moves that made you realize just how beautiful and weird and particularly good they were, but then they'd go back to writhing.

An arch of lights stood on the stage. At one point a character unscrewed random bulbs. Very disturbing. Then later, another character screwed them back in, which was an immense relief.

And then gratuitous partial nudity happened, starting with just boobs. Later, there was full nudity, followed by some costumeage, followed by full nudity again. Here's the conversation I had with myself:

Me: Oh, great. Gratuitous nudity.
Me: Gratuitous? Gratuitous of what?
Me: Well, I just don't think it adds anything.
Me: So you think it's for shock value?
Me: No, I just think it doesn't help the point of the piece.
Me: What's the point of the piece?
Me: I don't know.
Me: Ok, Einstein.
Me: Well, how are people supposed to concentrate when they're all wondering if it hurts to dance without a cup? The choreographer know everyone's just going to be looking at boobs and tan lines and navel piercings and the diversity of the human form and that kind of stuff. They'll be deciding who's hot and in what order they find them attractive. People aren't evolved enough to not notice that nakedness and sexuality are related and sexuality is titillating so it's sort of a cheap thrill onstage.
Me: Ok, so what?
Me: Well, I think that's all beside the point of the piece so it's distracting.
Me: Maybe it's not beside the point.
Me: Just SHUT UP, ok?

Meanwhile, the onstage activity starts to happen to the strains of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. This is ever more confusing to me. Why Beethoven's Fifth? Why evoke a familiar piece, one so familiar, in fact, as to have lost most of its emotional content?

The dancers seem to be punishing themselves onstage. They must be exhausted by this point, since the performance has been very athletic. They must be sweaty and tired of being exposed and tired of the bright lights on their privates and tired of staring out at a crowd of not-particularly-stylish Americans. In fact, lots of people in the audience are retired-looking. What do older people think of this craziness? The smoking and the nudity and the writhing? Are they shocked? No one's walked out yet...

* Yes, I do.


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