If I remember correctly, that was the title I wrote for the inaugural outing of the first P Club (thanks, WNYC, for promising to archive almost all of the club’s posts and deleting them instead. Nice touch.)
Saturday was the inaugural outing of the second P Club. Actually it was a twofer: at four a few of us attended/performed Lois Weaver’s Long Table, a 90-minute discussion at the Performing Garage about performing the real. We never did decide what that means. But, still, it was a good dinner party, by turns meandering, intriguing, frustrating, thought-provoking….we’re already plotting on how to do one of these as a future potluck event. The rules could’ve been written for us:
Then we went around the corner to Lucky Strike, and made good use of our nice drink discounts in the two-hour period before the night’s (sort of) main event, The Rehearsal, where we were joined by several more club folks.
It was so good to see everyone! I’m sorry we couldn’t all go out after and rehash, but those of us who did the full day were pretty exhausted. Next month, for sure, we’ll do a day-of postmortem. (I’m thinking a Performa event .. any thoughts, folks? The calendar makes my brain hurt.)
For now, online will have to do. What did you all think??? Just from a few brief chats after it ended, people seemed to have a wide variety of reactions. One person at least loved it, another was massively irritated. I was … well, I’d say meh. Irritated but not especially exercised by Cuqui Jerez’s concept, which folded layer upon layer of a scripted rehearsal in on itself, and us, during the two-hour show, which was presented by the Garage and P.S. 122 as part of the Crossing the Line festival.
The concept of rehearsal-as-performance-as-rehearsal-as-performance-etc. was discussed at the Long Table. I expressed skepticism then. It’s a formula that we’ve seen a lot of in recent years, and I’ve found that it doesn’t tend to be thoughtfully deployed and, even when it is, it’s too navel-gazing to produce sparks. Jerez, who was at the discussion, politely took me to task for that opinion, I think suggesting that my approach was counterproductive to questioning why such a tactic might now be in frequent use, and what it means to say in particular cases.
Fair enough. I get jaded. It’s not a good place from which to experience.
And The Rehearsal was clearly a thoughtful work; this didn’t feel like something that came from an artist blindly following a fashion. The performers were smart and charming.
I’m still not sure I understand the point of so much energy (theirs and ours) being deployed to examine the mechanism of the theater, especially when you consider that, at least in New York, the audience for this sort of work is already intimately familiar with this mechanism, and the various ways in which it has been constructed, deconstructed and stapled back together over the centuries. At this point it’s staple upon staple upon staple upon sta–well, much like The Rehearsal, there’s no end to it….