For a more enhanced experience, PS122 has committed to commissioning program notes for each major production. We’re hoping that through these writings we can provide a deeper connection to the ideas that are prevalent throughout the work or the artist’s body of work and how these ideas relate to contemporary issues permeating throughout society. Our goal is to foster dialogue so if you feel compelled to share your thoughts, leave a comment.
Program Notes for COIL 2016: o’ death by Findlay//Sandsmark + Pettersen
Notes written by by Lane Czaplinski, Artistic Director of On the Boards in Seattle
I had a conversation with Iver a few months ago. He was worried about the timing of the run of o’ death in NYC. Was the “show” going to get lost in all the industry madness? Would any producers see it?
A day or so before I asked Iver what he means when he says he hates theater. I say the same thing all the time. “That’s a good question,” he said.
Another conversation a few years ago with an artist at a PS122 after party: “No one is making anything worthwhile,” said The Artist, “and everyone is scared to say so.”
Theater sucks and no one cares. What’s an artist supposed to do?
I saw o ‘ death as part of a festival at the Black Box Theater in Oslo last March. There was this tiny cafe around the corner from where I stayed, a mom and pop shop where I took refuge each day from the snow dumped city. I always got the same thing: curried butternut squash soup with overly hearty bread. I usually ordered a second bowl and I’d sit there pretending to read old Norwegian magazines while I watched Mom and Pop interact with their customers. It was this improbably perfect little universe. Mom cooked and Pop worked the counter. Every day the same thing. I’d go there right now if I could.
o’ death is like that place.
My last day in Oslo I talked at length with Mom and Pop. They asked why I was in town and what I did for a living. When I told them I was there for a theater festival as part of my job at a center for contemporary performance in the states, it ruined everything.
Rustling leaves, flickering lights, a landfill worth of styrofoam and Marit’s defiant body. That’s a full liquor cabinet. And if an artist doesn’t succumb to depicting this or telling that or other show making mumbo jumbo then anything can happen. It’s generous to create something that gives the viewer space for reflection and relief from the needless suffering inflicted by cheap mimicry. It’s not only generous but caring, too.
They hate theater?
No, not exactly.
It’s a show?
Yes, but not like that.
No one is making anything worthwhile?
Will whatever this is get lost?
I hope so.
© Feature Photo by Maria Baranova