SOS is an investigation into the nature of sacrifice within a supersaturated, hyper-acquisitive society. Set in a theatrical space that plays with the idea of representation, where the cables and cameras of surveillance appear as a forest of technology, the performance unwinds through overlapping abstract narratives. Animals (played by actors in plushy costumes and body mounted cameras) pushed from their native habitat turn on each other in a hopeless contest for survival. Televised Trans-Variant Revolutionaries from the Realness Liberation Front broadcasting in a skeletal studio implode under the pressure and failure of their own rhetoric. Social networking addicts enmeshed in a self-created universe seek escape from a tightening web of perception. As these scenarios vibrate against one another, the action transforms into a celebration of renewal though chaos.
Tom Sellar has penned an article about the state of the avant garde/experimental/progressive theater in the Village Voice that features Big Art Group and one of the best progressive performance companies.
Many of New York’s edgier ensembles have been drawing on non-dramatic source material (i.e., no plays) and creating work that mirrors other media forms—two impulses historically embraced by modernist avant-gardes, of course, but sometimes yielding original results today. Big Art Group, for instance, makes a touchstone out of synthesizing media elements. SOS, their 2009 show at the Kitchen, offered a spiraling series of hallucinations of consumer catastrophe—simultaneously humorous and apocalyptic. Scenes alternated between terrified animals fending for themselves in the Darwinian wilderness, and grotesque chats between urban creatures of consumption. The group used live projections, computer graphics, and a dense soundtrack to create an overstimulated (but deliberately oppressive) mediascape, which was somehow charmingly homemade.
SOS points to a category of experiment under way in alternative theater, which might be described as Internet dramaturgy: live performances structured around nonlinear associations, a continual or escalating series of non sequiturs, or constantly regenerated narrative frames. These dramatic forms echo our now-daily experiences of clicking through multiple sites and toggling between realities. Stage compositions increasingly reflect structures and patterns from the Web, a development ripe with potential.
… But in the next era—now under way—there’s an appetite and opportunity for enlarging the theatrical experience in New York. If anyone can seize the day, it may be Big Art Group, Nature Theater, and anyone else with the intellectual muscle to build up the vanguard.
Read the full article at VillageVoice.com
The Sleep mixes early cinema techniques, magic lantern, rock concert and Big Art Group’s Real Time Film technique into a live see-though movie adapted from M. P. Shiel’s 1901 story, “The Purple Cloud,” in which a lone explorer races to the North Pole while a poison purple cloud covers the earth. His subsequent return to the remnants of civilization drives him into a crisis of being, in a classic “last man” adventure that eerily presages catastrophic climate change. Music by Theo Kogan, Sean Pierce, and Jemma Nelson.
Abrons Art Center (NYC Premiere)
April 15-18, 2010 @ 7pm
The Wild Project (NYC – showing)
Festival Escena Abierta (Burgos, Spain)
Exodos Festival (Ljubljana, Solvenia)
Hebbel Am Ufer (Berlin Germany)
THE PEOPLE is a transformation of civil life: an expansion of the experiments of real-time film to a panoramic new scale: the conversion of a village into a multi-location video shoot, simultaneously projected & broadcast into the public square: a retelling of the Oresteia in the age of information war and electric vengeance: a counterstrike from the culturally assaulted.
THE PEOPLE – POLVERIGI
Inteatro Festival (Polverigi, Italy)
THE PEOPLE _ HALLE
Theatre Der Welt (Halle, Germany)
THE PEOPLE – SALZBURG
THE PEOPLE – Philadelphia