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We Are Not the Same. I am a Martian

A few thoughts on The Making of Americans by director Jay Scheib and composer Anthony Gatto, a Walker commissioned evening-length opera based on Gertrude Stein’s largest and most intimidating novel; a novel I have never read and never will read, for I have several impossible to read novels on my list already and, frankly, I’ve […]

A few thoughts on The Making of Americans by director Jay Scheib and composer Anthony Gatto, a Walker commissioned evening-length opera based on Gertrude Stein’s largest and most intimidating novel; a novel I have never read and never will read, for I have several impossible to read novels on my list already and, frankly, I’ve given up reading novels for watching Lil Wayne videos on Youtube

(Not really. I’m reading Child of God by Cormac McCarthy right now. Remind me never to time-travel to pre-1975 Tennessee. Or, if I have to, remind me to bring Lil Wayne with me. That’d be awesome.):

Even though I’ve not read Americans, I know enough things about things to know that Stein is perhaps America’s greatest literary obsessive modernist, so certain she was that truth or beauty or something of value can be extracted from the act of writing. In and of itself. It’s true. She thought that. Stein somehow convinced herself that she could conjure up universals through repetition, that the singular act of doing (writing) the same thing over and over again (with slight variation to move things forward) could establish impossible monuments that floated before us, simultaneously permanent and ephemeral. More than that old gravy boat of a phrase “bits and pieces gathered to present the semblance of a Whole,” Stein wanted the whole Whole, in fact, not simply appearance. She didn’t get it.

Hence, Modernism’s big, fat failure.

Because Stein was so typically (grandly) Modernist, I was intrigued to see how Anthony Gatto approached his score. Considering Stein’s reputation as perhaps literature’s greatest repeater, would he succumb to the temptation to treat her Modernist obsession with a Reich-style commitment to canons? Would The Making of American’s assertion that “repeating is the whole of living” force Gatto’s hand into some sort of minimalist night-drive where Stein’s theme was fed to us through repeated figures like spoonful after spoonful of cherry cough syrup? Thankfully, Gatto (mostly) resisted this choice. The composer seems to have understood that Stein’s work was teleogical, goal-centered and that to treat it with the fascination for process that marks the work of the great minimalists would be to miss the point. While not composed in a grand Wagnerian arc, Mr. Gatto’s music was at its best moments (Bradley Greenwald’s first act, for example, which approached the strange psychic landscape of Britten’s Canticles) probing and inquisitive.

Of course, much of the reputation of The Making of Americans was also established through the novel’s excess and the resulting unrelenting tedium. Here, too, Gatto represents well, especially during Mr. Echelard’s Second Act. Ms. Stein would approve, I think.

Speaking of the novel’s author, I wonder where she went. It was admirable that the production’s authors would attempt to rescue the story and its characters from legend of Stein and her impossible novel. But, while I may not deserve this desire after having admitted never reading the book, I was looking forward to getting to know the novel’s narrator, a character more famous than any of the Herslands, for she was Stein herself, learning to write how she would write and learning the limits of writing itself. Tanya Selvaratnam did a fine job at expressing some of the fundamental themes at work, but, as I’ve heard, the struggle that makes up the novel’s essential architecture is the struggle of the author to get it all out and rather than exploring the tension between maker and work, this production seemed content to simply show product without producer.

Any comments would be appreciated. Thanks to Michele S. and the Walker for the show and the forum.

The Making of Americans

It has to be hard for anybody to fashion a narrative for a 100-minute opera from Gertrude Stein’s famously difficult, many believe unreadable 900+ page novel, The Making of Americans. Jay Scheib’s re-imagining, which surely achieves more through its use of multimedia than any other attempt to bring the novel to the stage, highlights key […]

It has to be hard for anybody to fashion a narrative for a 100-minute opera from Gertrude Stein’s famously difficult, many believe unreadable 900+ page novel, The Making of Americans. Jay Scheib’s re-imagining, which surely achieves more through its use of multimedia than any other attempt to bring the novel to the stage, highlights key moments not only in the lives of the families that are the subject of Stein’s novel, but perhaps much of humanity itself. The creators of the opera seemed to strike a balance between a narrative involving marriage, broken relationships, and death and the images that make the work resonant far beyond these individual characters and families.

Hometown new music-heroes Zeitgeist and the JACK Quartet from New York deftly performed Anthony Gatto’s score. Much of Gatto’s music was post-minimalist in character, appropriate for a work so dependent in form and content on repetition. At other points, though, passages sounded like an almost Bach-like chorale and, elsewhere, the rich, slow moving harmony of a Debussy piano etude; the joyous wedding music that opens the work was some of Gatto’s best. The singing was generally expressive, clear and, in-tune, though at times sounded a bit strained, perhaps explained by the fact that many of the characters were attempting to sing in extreme registers while in all sorts of positions.

The opera not only drew upon the content of Stein’s novel in its exploration of the Hersland and  Dehning families, but also its form. In addition to her almost tortuous repetition of precise grammatical structures, Stein foregrounds her own presence throughout the book, calling attention to the very processes of creation that are crystallized in the final work. The opera reflected and built upon these ideas: the musicians were on stage right, stage lights descended from the ceiling to the middle of the stage, and little effort was made to hide microphone battery packs. The aspect that best bridged the gap between form and content, though, was the projection of footage from the cameras inside Chris Larson’s house from Crush Collision were projected onto a screen suspended above the stage; their slightly grainy and delayed image gave the impression of YouTube voyeurism, a sense of looking in at this family, and being made slightly uncomfortable for our efforts.

Much of the work’s visual logic emanates from Scheib’s idea of “motion portraiture,” the slow moving development of moving images, both in terms of film as well as the developing images that make up the opera’s visual and sonic landscape. Despite the potential embedded in such a concept, Stein’s words were far more powerful than most many of the work’s images. (Many of them seemed predictable, with their emphases on roots and trees, both plant and familial.) The constant repetition with a crucial difference of words such as being, dead, history, and repeating opens up a window to the possibilities of reflection and imagination that language in Stein’s skilled, almost obsessive hand, affords us.

Through this language, Stein’s words extend far beyond two American families, which Scheib echoes in similarly universalizing tones in his Director’s Notes:

I hope that [The Making of Americans] will remind us of the perfect depiction of an event—a marriage, a funeral, a divorce—a motion portrait of ordinary lives. Something about becoming Americans, about doing the best we can with the time we have. And about it only mattering so much, since the next generation will do the same. And it just goes on like that.

I have to say, this statement left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. Such bald generalizations—are Americans the only people that do “the best we can with the time we have”?—seem out of a place within an artistic and philosophical environment of such detailed introspection about the nature of familial ties, be they part of one’s own family or a more utopian idea of a “human family.” There’s a history of white Americans believing the world revolves around them, and many histories have been written through this lens Americans alone, often with disastrous consequences.

And while all involved see the opera as possessing meaning for the contemporary world, it seems hesitant to ascribe any meanings that might be too specific, such as the wide-ranging and often inflammatory debates about immigrants as “becoming American.” By not really going down that path, the work in the end seems ambivalent about who actually fits into the category of “a real American,” a phrase repeated incessantly near the beginning of the opera.

Illustrating this was the fact that the actress Tanya Selvaratnam, who is of South Asian descent, was the only prominent person of color on the stage. Her performance as Mary Maxworthing that ended the opera, though, contained the most powerful moments of the entire evening. Numerous people in the audience were moved to tears as her character reflects on the fate that awaits us all.

There is, of course, so much in both versions of Making of Americans that you could most likely come up with an alternate interpretation to address whatever criticisms I may have. Yet the attempt to make the ordinary extraordinary, which Scheib and the rest of those who expertly brought forth this multi-faceted imagining of Stein’s novel, threatens to be hamstrung by all-too familiar ethnocentric conceptions that structure much of the world’s inequality today, inequality that all families, including those in America, must live under.

Introducing Music Bloggers, Mark and Justin

Starting this weekend with Making of Americans, local musicians Justin Schell and Mark Erickson will be posting their comments and observations on music concerts and performances from the Walker Performing Arts season. Wait for comments by James Everest, host of the Making Music series at the Whole Music Club as the Walker joins forces with […]

Starting this weekend with Making of Americans, local musicians Justin Schell and Mark Erickson will be posting their comments and observations on music concerts and performances from the Walker Performing Arts season.

Wait for comments by James Everest, host of the Making Music series at the Whole Music Club as the Walker joins forces with James on two installments of Making Music in the Walker’s McGuire Theater on March 5th with Dave Longstreth of Dirty Projectors and May 7th with Jason Moran. More details to come!

More music conversations are on their way thanks to Justin and Mark. And don’t miss Kassin + 2 at the Cedar tomorrow night!

The Sound of New Brazil – Kassin+2 to play at Cedar Cultural Center

New York Times (Jon Pareles) gave a smashing review this morning of Kassin + 2 who is performing at Cedar Cultural Center Thurs, December 11th. Here is a sampling: “Their music was elegant as well as kinetic. Packed with ideas, the songs faced down private cares not by withdrawing, but by opening up to more […]

Courtesy of rolling stone .

New York Times (Jon Pareles) gave a smashing review this morning of Kassin + 2 who is performing at Cedar Cultural Center Thurs, December 11th.

Here is a sampling:

“Their music was elegant as well as kinetic. Packed with ideas, the songs faced down private cares not by withdrawing, but by opening up to more possibilities: tuneful and clamorous, buoyant and barbed.”

“It’s a band from Rio de Janeiro that’s grounded in Brazilian pop and familiar with funk, rock and Caribbean and African music. And it made sure that noise infiltrated the supple tunes…for this band the noise is half the fun.”

“wistful melodies…enmeshed in layers of ingenious funk that could be dissonant or jovial”

“Mr. Kassin switched between gentle tunes and upbeat ones laced with Afropop guitars, carnival beats and siren sounds. Mr. Lancelotti…was the extrovert, clowning when he took over the microphone and building songs with riffs and quick chants. He started one song by clapping (joined by the audience) and slapping rhythms on his chest.”

Click here to read more
Click here to listen to a sample of Kassin +2

Performance Information
Date: Thursday, December 11, 2008
Time: 8:00 pm
Place: Cedar Cultural Center
Address: 416 Cedar Avenue South, Minneapolis
Price: $18 ($15 Walker and Cedar members); $20 day of performance

Click here to purchase tickets through the Walker website

Choreographers’ Evening 2008

  I would very much appreciate feedback on this year’s Choreo Evening and have been given permission by Emily Johnson, 2007 curator, to resubmit the blogging format she posed last year.   sincerely, Sally Rousse What do you remember? What surprised you? Did you laugh? Did you cry? Did your mind wander? post-re-view is a post-performance […]

 

I would very much appreciate feedback on this year’s Choreo Evening and have been given permission by Emily Johnson, 2007 curator, to resubmit the blogging format she posed last year.  

sincerely, Sally Rousse

What do you remember?

What surprised you?

Did you laugh? Did you cry?

Did your mind wander?

post-re-view is a post-performance project of Catalyst.

I am interested in what happens when audiences are invited to craft a response to a performance, especially when they weren’t preparing for that task during the show. What stays in the mind? What is recalled? What is lost? Does any of this change the relationship between “review,” “reviewer,” “audience,” and “performance?”

Now that you’ve seen the 36th annual Choreographers’ Evening, please write, draw, videotape (or anything else you can think of) a response to any one or any number of the dances you saw Saturday night, November 29, 2008.

A few liberal post-re-view guidelines:

- post-re-views can be of any length

- post-re-views can take any shape the contributor chooses; essay, quick response, prose, lists, drawings, short film…

- People are asked to create post-re-views AFTER shows

- post-re-views are not edited

- These post-re-views will be posted on the Walker’s website and on Catalyst’s website

- post-re-view-ers need not have any prior experience writing about, performing, or making “dance.”

Thank you!!

-Emily Johnson

Kassin +2 (Moreno Veloso, Domenico Lancellotti, and Alexandre Kassin)

Three of Brazil’s most fascinating, multi-talented and innovative musicians are coming our way for a rare concert at Cedar Cultural Center Thursday, December 11, co-presented by the Walker. It’s a concert that, as unlikely as it sounds, will appeal to fans of classic Brazilian music, electronica, indie rock, global pop and combinations of all four, […]

Three of Brazil’s most fascinating, multi-talented and innovative musicians are coming our way for a rare concert at Cedar Cultural Center Thursday, December 11, co-presented by the Walker. It’s a concert that, as unlikely as it sounds, will appeal to fans of classic Brazilian music, electronica, indie rock, global pop and combinations of all four, it promises to be one of the season’s musical highlights in the Twin Cities and I don’t want you to miss it.
Kassin +2
In 2000, Moreno Veloso (son of pioneering Brazilian composer/singer Caetano Veloso, one of the creators of Tropicália movement in the 60s) released his own first recording in Brazil called Music Typewriter. Word started to spread to the States about this fantastic release and a few years later it was released it in the U.S. to great acclaim (“…An original, deeply affecting sound….taking cues from genre masters while delicately incorporating modern touches…” JazzTimes; “If Brazil continues to produce albums as delicate and emotionally complex as Music Typewriter, that country’s music will occupy as honored a place in the 21st century as it did in the 20th.” – Time Magazine).

I am generally suspicious when it comes the talents of children of famous musicians, but once I heard Music Typewriter all reservations melted away. Moreno clearly had his own sound and vision. In early 2002, Moreno + 2 were organizing their first U.S. tour and I jumped at the chance for the Walker to present them. The resulting concert which filled the old Walker Auditorium on March 2, 2003 was as beguiling and charming as it was inventive and unpredictable. Here was a band who’s unique mix of samba, bossa nova and other regional Brazilian styles fused effortlessly with infectious electronic beats, loops, and experimental effects, creating what critics saw as “the sound of New Brazil” — idiosyncratic yet seductive, Brazilian music that somehow seemed to simultaneously embrace past, present, and future. Here’s what the Chicago Sun Times wrote about that first tour:

In a music world saturated with manufactured (music) events, it’s easy to become jaded. But then along comes a band like Moreno Veloso + 2 to prove why music still matters. The Brazilian trio….delivered the kind of show that had a history-in- the-making impact. In years hence, after Veloso and company have gone on to join the ranks of world-music superstars, the lucky crowd can claim “we saw them first” bragging rights.

Music Typewriter launched what is today a Brazilian superstar trio, which included not just Veloso, but also Domenico Lancellotti and Alexandre Kassin. All three are prominent, highly respected composers, producers, multi-instrumentalists and members of multiple bands. They so enjoyed working together on Music Typewriter, the trio decided to release a trilogy of records, one under each of their names. Domenico +2’s Sincerely Hot from 2004 was more experimental and electronic, but an equally fascinating record released on David Byrne’s intrepid Luaka Bop label (“Innately creative and defiantly adventurous, they are concerned only with hurling their talents together and stamping new identities onto Brazilian music.” —Global Rhythm Magazine).

The Walker was all set to present the trio again on its next tour in March 2006 but a failed airline sponsorship and other challenges that seem to bedevil Brazilian artists getting to the States forced a rare cancellation for the Walker. That didn’t however, lessen my total admiration of what these three artists were now regularly cooking up together. For instance, late last year, the +2’s third release came out – this one called Futurisimo under the name Kassin + 2. It was met with acclaim that might have even outstripped the first two: “an effervescent collage of samba, airy folk, and sheer mysticism” SPIN.

Let one of Brazil’s most exciting new groups warm up your December by heading down to the Cedar on Thursday, December 11 for what promises to be an unforgettable night of music.

Look forward to seeing you at Veloso, Domenico and Kassin at the Cedar on December 11th.

Warm Regards,

Philip

Choreographers’ Evening

wow judith! fantastic! i felt it – i heard it – i saw it! visual art opera! wonderful colors, and that silver material – but especially how you used it! fantastic. what a wonderful “push-up” orange! (you know the ice cream, right?) your piece was for us clearly working on an entirely differnet artisitc level, […]

wow judith!

fantastic!
i felt it – i heard it - i saw it!

visual art opera!

wonderful colors, and that silver material – but especially how you used it!
fantastic. what a wonderful “push-up” orange! (you know the ice cream, right?)

your piece was for us clearly working on an entirely differnet artisitc level, and that’s not to put down the other pieces, but to express the richness of what you gave us. it felt like a segment of an entire work that we want to see!

terrific

Choreographers’ Evening – Dances You Might Remember

Choreographers’ Evening, a showcase of local choreography that began in 1971, is happening this year on November 29th.  Two shows at 7:00 and 9:30 pm on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, it’s regular slot for the past few years.  That’s not where it started, and it’s only this years incarnation of a forum that’s served the […]

Choreographers’ Evening, a showcase of local choreography that began in 1971, is happening this year on November 29th.  Two shows at 7:00 and 9:30 pm on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, it’s regular slot for the past few years.  That’s not where it started, and it’s only this years incarnation of a forum that’s served the Minnesota dance community for over 35 years.

Every Choreographers’ Evening is curated, and this year Sally Rousse chose 13 choreographers from over 60 that applied.  I’m one of those 13, feeling lucky to get to present my work at the Walker next Saturday.   Actually I’m presenting the work of 10 other choreographers from past evenings.  “Dances You Might Remember” is a piece of archival recovery and community based contemporary art.  That is a complicated way of saying that I have collected and watched videos of past choreographer’s evenings and taken 30 seconds of dance material from 10 different dances.  My dancers have each learned one 30 second sequence and will be looping that sequence for 15 minutes in the lobbies and public spaces of the Walker before the stage show begins in the McGuire.

You want to see this work, so make sure you show up 20 minutes early and don’t immediately grab your seat.  Also, four of the Walker’s amazing tour guides will be taking audience members through the piece describing details and discussing the development of the Walker’s architecture and programing. Did you know that the Walker created the performing arts program in 1970 just one year before choreographer’s evening was started?  True!

It’s been a trip doing the research for this piece.  Besides watching videos I’ve had conversations with Judith Brin Ingber (the impetuous behind the first CE and it’s first curator), Wendy Morris, Tom Kanthak, Tom Carlson, Laurie Van Wieren (who will be performing an excerpt of a piece by one of the original 1971 choreographers on Saturday), and more.  Every conversation brings me closer into this community.   It’s fantastic.

Final Thoughts and Tangents - Last night I was talking with one of the choreographers about their piece.  They told me they were surprised I had seen video of their piece before getting their permission to use it.  This reminded me of an issue I was very interested in digging at when I began Dances You Might Remember.  Since dance is fundamentally ephemeral, the documentation of it is incomplete and filled with informational holes.  I think there is also a sense of time in dance that the present is the only real incarnation.  Because of this watching video of my own past work is a little shocking and a little invasive.  Similarly video raises issues of ownership and control.  I have gotten the permission from the choreographers whose movement I’ve stolen/appropriated/assumed, but in many instances I didn’t have to do that.  Their material is out in the world.  I could steal it.  But what is the point in that?  Is it really even valuable?  If I reacreate it off of the video is it really theirs?  How much do I have to recreate before I begin to impinge on their ownership rights?  Western choreographers have been directly lifting/using/taking inspiration from other people’s movement as a standard technique for a long long time.

Question: What is the function of copyright in an ownership society?  Is it to allow creators to take risk and make money?  Is it a protection for personal expression?  I’m not sure but there is certainly a better system than the one set out by Congress and the US court system.  Take a look at: creativecommons.org

Thanks for reading.  See the show and talk to me afterwards.  If you want to document my piece feel free.  Cameras are everywhere so let’s get used to using them.  I claim ownership of my art and my concepts.

A review of Continuous City

Mike is a globe-trotting father who leaves his daughter at home as he travels the world to explore the the social networks of the third world. Mike works for startup Xubu, and his job is to understand how these networks can be brought online, so the Xubu can somehow profit. While Mike travels, his daughter […]

Mike is a globe-trotting father who leaves his daughter at home as he travels the world to explore the the social networks of the third world. Mike works for startup Xubu, and his job is to understand how these networks can be brought online, so the Xubu can somehow profit. While Mike travels, his daughter Sam can only connect to him through video chat. And Sam’s nanny, Deb, explores her new city, Minneapolis, and documents it through a video blog.

Photo by Eamon Lochte-Phelps

Photo by Eamon Lochte-Phelps

Mike and Sam initially have trouble having a real relationship through video chat, but eventually make a go of it. The technology doesn’t matter as much as the time they put into it. Mike realizes he needs to be proactive and not use the chat as a crutch, but rather put actual non-work time into the relationship with his daughter. It is interesting that the adults are the ones who seem to have the most trouble connecting via video. Yet Sam, who is only 11, becomes more than acclimated to seeing her father only through video. When he finally is going to be home, Sam is indifferent.

Meanwhile, J.V., Mike’s boss, becomes increasingly frustrated with Mike as he focuses less and less on his work for Xubu and more and more on his daughter. Mike is realizing that Xubu isn’t going to solve the world’s problems and J.V. isn’t happy to see Mike’s decreased enthusiasm.

The show’s attempts to ground itself to the visiting city were interesting, but verging on over the top. The main foil for this is Deb, who’s vlog journals her explorations of Minneapolis. Her jokes about the different flavors of Lutherans or the history of the river came off a bit forced, trying too hard to connect to the local audience. On the other hand, when Deb retells a visit to an ethnic grocery, it was more relevant to the main story line. I got the sense that it might actually be telling the audience something they hadn’t already heard. Again, when J.V. is talking with his friends via video chat, he mentions Sarah Palin’s appearance on SNL last week, touch of timely presence that helps to place the show and add a chuckle.

The show dazzles with technical proficiency. The set features a spectacular array of folding and un-folding screens, of all different sizes and locations. It is is a spectacle that works, being entirely relevant to the meaning of the show. When the screens first fold open, there is an initial “woah” factor, but after a while they almost become actors in themselves.

I am a fan of art that doesn’t beat around the bush with it’s intentions and message. When a work is direct and has a clear call to action, I am in love. But I also expect there to be a subtle and deeper weave of meaning behind the initial message. Continuous City certainly meets my criteria for being clear about it’s intentions, to an extent that is perhaps too much for someone who appreciates bluntness. It leaves no allusions about the paradox of an always connected wired world. We can use our connectedness for good or for bad. We should use it as a tool, but not a crutch. Virtual presence shouldn’t suffice for the real thing.

The plot executed this well, but there was an opportunity to explore the complexities of this a bit more. J.V. felt under-developed as a character. We got glimpses of his personal life and of his far flung friends, but delving into his personal life even more might have worked better to serve as a counterpoint or secondary plot-line to the main father-daughter plot.

Again, the father-daughter plot was so much more compelling, it left Xubu itself feeling a unintegrated. It served mainly as a tool to facilitate the father and J.V.’s interactions, and to try to connect the to the larger world. We caught glimpses of the Continuous City the title alludes to, but they were fleeting and interrupted.

Despite the flaws, I still appreciated the power of the work. Few artists come close to not only revealing, but reveling in the social implications of technology in our world. To work with it as fluidly as The Builders Association does is a feat to behold.

The Smallest Building Block

Generally when I’m not at my desk in the Marketing Department of the Walker, I’m somewhere making theater with children. This week, however, worlds have collided. New York-based theater company The Builders Association has been hard at work rehearsing their latest creation Continuous City in the McGuire Theater and I’ve been at the side of Caroline O’Neill, the youngest […]

The Builders Association

The Builders Association's Continuous City

Generally when I’m not at my desk in the Marketing Department of the Walker, I’m somewhere making theater with children. This week, however, worlds have collided. New York-based theater company The Builders Association has been hard at work rehearsing their latest creation Continuous City in the McGuire Theater and I’ve been at the side of Caroline O’Neill, the youngest performer in the show as her acting coach. Between scenes I took the opportunity to ask this charismatic young person a few questions about the multimedia show that recently premiered at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts on the University of Illinois campus.

Here’s what she had to say:

What is your name?

Caroline O’Neill

How old are you?

Nine.

Who is the character you play?

Sam. Short for Samantha.

What is Continuous City about?

Connecting to people you love . . .if you’re in one place you might feel like your family’s really far apart, but you have this wonderful technology to connect you.

Is the technology enough to help Sam connect with her dad when he is far away from her?

Well, I think the connection between them can’t be completely gone.  If we didn’t have these wonderful electronics we wouldn’t be able to communicate at all when we’re far away.

How does Sam feel when she’s on her own?

In the first part she’s a little sad, then as the show goes on her mood goes up.

What changes?

She actually has someone with her.  [Deb, her nanny]

How do you act sad?

I think about my grandpa who died when I was little.

What was the process of working on a new play like?

It started last spring. Then we took a long break. Then we came back together and did all different things. The script changed completely.

How did you handle that?

Marianne. [The director, Marianne Weems]  She’s a very good person. She’s helped me through the rough parts and easy parts.

What makes this play unique?

The screens. There are about 1,000 of them.

Can you describe what happens with the screens to give someone who hasn’t seen the play an idea of what they’re like?

They are very, very, very active. There are many, they open and close a lot.  They show little films that the live actors are talking to.

Though they don’t actually number a thousand (there are thirty), the screens that Caroline talks about certainly fill the McGuire. The images that project on them bring faces from around the world into the show for a few moments at a time. You could even become one of them. The Builder’s Association created a fictional, international networking site called Xubu for Continuous City. People from around the world are invited to visit the website and post a recording that could be integrated into a performance.

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