Sunday, March 9, 2008

Richard Foreman's new land

Every year, among other top downtown pleasures for edgy and envelope-pushing artists (no, not at their day jobs) is THE NEW RICHARD FOREMAN SHOW. So I pushed myself like an envelope ready to open itself towards a new amazing performance and, well - utter disappointment. This year the guru&mecca of downtown theatre discovered a new medium: film. The lines are now given mostly to the actors on the screen (students from Japan and England where Mr Foreman had some paid residencies) while the expressive live performers are clearly upstaged by the... screen upstage. Mr Foreman's unique "choreography" of objects and images, the frames composed of bodies and stunning visuals that he masterfully creates in space, play only a supporting role this time. The focus is on the screen and it's obvious that Mr Foreman is in the phase of discovering the potent attributes of idiosyncratic frames&shots. However, stuff like that has been done and re-done in film, from "Last Year at Marienbad" to "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" so it's not so special anymore. And the Japanese actors are not "exotic" anymore, etc, etc, hence the images don't work at the level that a signature Foreman frame works in live performance...
This is not a review, just a few notes of a frustrated former Foreman fan who fell in love with his work when she first saw it in Vienna, during Wiener Festwochen, in 2001.
That show - Now that Communism is dead my life feels empty - might have had a political significance for me at that time but the aesthetic oddness and richness were what got me. Well, what can I say, on the positive side, at least my life doesn't feel empty without my admiration for Richard Foreman's work.

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