Heaven is visually quite stunning. If performance simply existed for the sole purpose to be photographed, or if this happened to be a site-specific installation with a live performance component, where the audience was free to come and go and experience it on their own terms, this might have been perfect.
I was very excited to see the ps122 space transformed into something so white, yet plush, a matressy, doily, embroidred, bandaged, quilted space. From the pillars to the audience seating to the onstage sound equipment everything was transformed to fit into this new environment. As the audience was filling-in, the dancers were already in movement, setting the mood, with their slow deliberate and trance like circling of the space. This movement tableaux was quite arresting with the performers moving in and out of your consciousness.
Morgan Thorson’s pursuit of a “a real-time performance ritual” that moves from the “religious to the theatre world” is commendable. However, I’m not sure it worked. I was intrigued visually, I admired the lighting (and the haze machine) while listening to the sublime trance inducing slowcore of LOW (Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker), but overall the performance was a little too stuck on ritual and I wasn’t able to get much more out of it.
In general I think re-enactments, and experiments in liveness are great, but for many of them, when they start to go into religious, or even simply, spiritual territory, as this show does with a few overtones, as long as they are in a theater, along with us (an audience), all of their attempts at authenticity only serve to highlight the artifice of what they are doing.
Performance Space 122
150 First Ave. at E. 9th St.
New York, New York 10009