Review: The more you know, the less you understand
by Jacqueline Krieger, Tuesday, February 3, 2009
What is the result of great dancers, musicians and poets getting together for an evening? A captivating show that will rouse the creativity out of even the most left-brained individual.
The artist troupe Art as Action came together on Friday and Saturday at the Dairy Center in Boulder and delivered a bang-up performance of “The Identity Crisis” to a packed audience.
The 90-minute show was sectioned into different pieces, like that of different tracks on a CD. Each piece had a different element of creative performance, which made for a pleasant surprise each time the curtain reopened.
For example, there was one piece that had a jazzy guitarist and a poet talking about false dichotomies, who together made a smooth, dark, underground sound. Another was a modern dance soloist who took your breath away every time her leg touched her earlobe.
Carole Dibben of Lawrence, Kan. commented on her experience as an audience member. “It was gorgeous,” Dibben said. “There was so much joy for me in seeing the ease of movement because I don’t have that anymore. It was very well balanced.”
The performance took place on a proscenium-style stage while the audience was kept in the dark, left to their own thoughts. Because of the intense theme of the performance, this acted as an element of seclusion and an opportunity for self-reflection for the spectators.
The message of the performance reflected how people’s actions fall in line with their beliefs in modern society, with underlying themes of self-questioning and soul searching.
These artists were working with some exciting, thought provoking material, but some digging was involved to decipher the message. “The message was hard to get if you didn’t know what they were trying to do, but it was a good message,” said Andrea Davis, of Boulder.
Centering a show on such a complex topic requires creative ability and flexible attitudes. By no means was this a light theme. Identity itself is an ambiguous idea and these performers did a smashing job of sticking to it.
There were even some audience members who were fans of how the show was put together. “I feel there was a lot of effort put forth,” said Mike McNish of Golden. “The message was very well done.”
Art as action is a Boulder based group of creative performers who use their art as a catalyst for thought. For six years, founder and artistic director Sarah Leversee has invited artists from across the nation to her organization’s annual “big show” performance, which is the core of Art as Action’s existence.