By. Aziza Alvarenga
Do Your Worst // Curated by Boom Bat Gesture
Triskelion Arts Center, Greenpoint
September 30, 2017
THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE WORSE
May you be well
May you be peaceful
May you be happy
May you be loved
As we sat down, the feeling of comfort and home enveloped us. With each and every one of the performances, we felt as if the audience was a part of the performance too. There was a very thin line differentiating from reality and performance. Within every piece of art, I felt as if I could empathize with the aspects of what the artists believed was bad. The show was emotional, raw, personal, and reflective.
With “R E V I V A L: a feartool tale of two”, I clearly saw the snippets of choreographies and preoccupying thoughts on what is good and bad about dance, on what they love and love to hate, on the dance world’s social angst, on what it means to be sexually expressional, and finally - we saw, especially at the end, the magic and hopefulness of being together. The universe bringing Amity Jones and Kristen Schnittker together, and ultimately bringing all of us together; as one magical being that is and will be, along with everything else, O.K.
From the beginning, Lorelei Ramirez’s “SEASON 3: EPISODE 1”, gave me chills. I knew from the start this one was bound to hit a sensitive spot within myself. She thinks, she thinks, she thinks. The narrator’s repetitive voice, the erratic behavior of the character, the dimming and darkness of light, the seemingly never ending chronological order of events - it gave me anxiety, paranoia, but also fed my inquisitiveness. My vision became blurry from the water my eyes began to form. You were really engulfed in the story and put yourself in the shoes of Lorelei’s character, who never stopped thinking about “Greg” and her blue dress. Throughout the performance, you felt as if you too were missing something or someone and desperately needed it - although you weren’t quite sure what it was. Toward the end, you felt lost in thought and the feeling of emptiness while you realized that all you really have, is yourself and the thoughts you house.
The show ended with Coco Cafe’s powerful “illegibility is protection. always.” Their performance was dedicated to the third anniversary of the mass kidnapping and disappearance of 43 students in Guerrero, Mexico - the home state of Coco’s father. There was a trigger warning before their performance, I thought there might be loud, deafening sounds and burning lights to symbolize the shootouts, the violence, the destruction the authorities had caused. But Coco took a different approach. The stage was set to a soft, despondent blue light. Coco remained silent except for when they said: “My son was disappeared four days ago” - while reaching towards the general audience. They repeated that phrase as their arm extended to individual audience members, asking for the tinfoil rescue blanket given to us before the show. Every time Coco would set a blanket on the floor - making a circular shape - they would run a lap on the blankets. The process repeated. Audience members were asked to bring up their blankets to the floor and run a lap after they layed it down. For the last lap, Coco fell with a loud thud - it was obviously painful - but they continued running. I realized with every lap Coco ran, it became more frantic, more desperate, more crestfallen, more morose; but stronger each time. I couldn’t help but let the tears flow. These were human souls and lives, taken from families and loved ones. Taken from this life they had just begun to live and learn about. It made one think about the injustice, the unfairness of the situation. It made one think about love, lucidity, memory, past, haunting, anger, sorrow, and ultimately - acknowledgement and healing. It was a process of grief. A process of reaction. And a process of evaluating identity, as well.
All in all, the magnificent artists presented to make their “worst” performances. Not “worse” as in social constructions of what’s “good” and “bad”, “successful” and “feeble”, but “worse” as in what they personally believe is good and bad within their hearts, minds, and souls. And to explore why they believe something is bad. It was a prompt asking to navigate something incredibly personal and complex. And I (as well as my sister, Cloe) am so fortunate to have been a part of it. Blessed be.
aziza (azi) alvarenga is an aspiring artist, lover, and agender kid (pronouns: they/them) who likes reading, writing, dreaming, politics, history, the arts, and languages! ☆