Here’s something I know nothing about: dance.
And yet, I’ve spent the last few minutes carefully reading this Village Voice review of a dance performance at PS 122. Actually, it’s a review of two performances. One of the pieces, created by Chris Yon, has the title “RrrrKILLKILLKILL. . .to infinity (MAKE IT LOOK REAL).” And yes, the reason I’m bringing it up is that “St. James Infirmary” is involved. I don’t know if I can do much here beyond offer up the Voice’s description:
[A] band of silver “rrrrrrrr”s runs around the walls of the space. The rest of the set consists of a Toastmaster (Philip Connaughton), who sits on a high platform behind a table with a toaster sitting on it. Throughout RrrrKILLKILLKILL, he makes toast, stacking the pieces in towers. By the end of the work, the good smell of hot bread has filled the theater.
The taped score by Justin Jones/dog pound sound contains snatches of song and instrumental music. abetted by the whir, crash, and clink of objects such as wine glasses, office supplies, drill bits, and a bicycle. The sounds are carefully keyed to the actions and disruptions of the three performers: [dancer John] Scott, plus New York dancers Jeanine Durning and Taryn Griggs. All of them wear identical black suits stitched in white, the jackets open and flapping over white shirts stitched in black. A beat pounds out, and Durning and Griggs dance to it—lurching and swinging their arms and legs around in perfect unison. When Scott enters and starts thrashing and jumping, they restrain him.
Who are these people? Why do they suddenly open their mouths at a blast of noise? Why do they cast suspicious looks at one another? Why does a window at the back suddenly get framed in light (by lighting wizard Chloe Z Brown). Why is a dark, honey-sweet male voice singing, “I went down to St. James Infirmary. . . “?
Yon seems to be making a complicated absurdist proposition. What if moments from the past and the future were to fuse in the present?
And so on. (The boldface in the quote above was, of course, added by me.)
I wonder, if I still lived in the NYC area, if I’d go see this? I think it sounds interesting. And the performers, by the by, are the Dublin-based John Scott’s Irish Modern Dance Theatre — raising the connection between “SJI” and its folk origins. Although the writer of this piece is apparently a New Yorker. I wonder why he chose “SJI”? Perhaps I’ll try to find out…