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< the invisible draft >: A Dense Dissertation, But Perhaps Still Drafty (Fringe Festival 2012)

by Stephen Tortora-Lee on August 14, 2012

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Sometimes performance art gets the reputation of being a bit esoteric, experimental, or just plain weird, and all of these come into play in varying degrees in < the invisible draft >.  However I think at the core there are some strong messages to be filtered through the barrage of multimedia and interpretive movement, and this play almost subliminally infiltrates the audience with a message that is both important as well as worth the effort of trying to digest during this challenging piece.

Here is a cheat sheet for those who are interested in knowing more about the world created in  < the invisible draft >.  My intent is to perhaps sort the ideas which I saw portrayed,  or at the very least help them  percolate more freely, much in the way Italo Roma does in the book heavily referenced in this play called Invisible Cities. This book inspired  the live action silent movie (ie mime and interpretive movement piece) called “Our Man of the World” that is simultaneously enacted along with a radio play, The Girl With A Backpack (performed with the voice talents of Briana Posner),.  This mixture is then interwoven throughout with lush multimedia contributed by Lotte Maria Allen (prints and animation), Jonah Rosenberg (sound design), Emma Grace Skove-Epes (video performance) and Nickey Frankel (scenic designer).  It’s all  baked together onto a large canvas that, with the assistance of pulleys, contraptions and the audience’s imagination,  becomes a house,  a swan,  a whirlwind…At least I think that’s how it goes.

We open with  a large fabric construction, silence and a face beaming out at us. He emerges from a flap just large enough in the “building” and is then followed by another man. They have a silent discussion/transcendent emergence about a feather.  Both are  ”Our Man of  the World” played by brothers Maxwell and Milo Cramer.  They help become the screen that the message of the play is projected across throughout this piece.  Whether silent shadows,  a room drowned in multimedia  — or the bright stark emptiness where the two converse dissonantly; they literally speak in random postcards in a way that mirrors the shifting beauty for the rest of the play.

The message is complex, but also simple.  There are many ways that we can move  between different parts of our lives and the meanings (or lack of meaning) that  are a part of the urban (or even just the social) life we live.  Sometimes thinking about who we are helps, but other times this investigation of who we are sets us more firmly in the void of objectivity that the world tries to enforce upon us, perhaps eventually we “become lost” when we try to think  of what would come next once we get to a place that’s stable in our way of seeing the world.  We are part of the world in every macroscopic and microscopic way, but sometimes our imagination is too much for our own good.

This is the third iteration of this piece, and  creator/director Claire Moodey has done a good job setting the balance between confusion and deeper understanding. However, it takes longer than the time of the performance to have everything slide in place — it is a very moving piece, but I think you definitely have to be prepared to “do the work” in order to have that movement.  If you think you’re up to the task, check out a clip of some of the multimedia below  to see if this show will be a good one for you.

Hope to see you on the other side of meaning.



< the invisible draft >
Preview the Arts
Writer: by Claire Moodey, sound by Jonah Rosenberg, set by Nickey Frankel, and animations by Lotte Marie Allen and Claire Moodey
Director: Claire Moodey
Enter a liminal space between reality and its representation: a map of consciousness constructed by the Girl with a Backpack and conducted by Our Man of the World. Where these gods meet blossom stop-motion “cities” inspired by Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities.
1h 0m   Local   Brooklyn, New York
Performance Art   Multi-Media
Staycation: Literary Lane   Spa Getaway (Mind & Body)
VENUE #14: New Ohio Theatre
Sat 11 @ 7:15  Sat 18 @ 10:15  Thu 23 @ 4  Sat 25 @ 5:45  Sun 26 @ 12

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