Monday, March 1, 2010

White Cabin

As you enter the dimly lit room, you see a woman sitting at a table at the far-left hand side of the stage, legs crossed. A reel-to-reel projects silent films onto a white shirt as the woman takes notes, her black dress bleeding into the shadows. The eerily gentle music in the background is gradually overwhelmed as people take their seats. Smoke pours in bursts onto the stage from above. The film cuts out, and starts over again. The smell of incense slowly wafts into the crowd. A wooden chair sits in the foreground, its shadows projected threefold by spotlights. A light focuses on the woman and the audience grows quiet. You can now hear some sound from the recording, like a distorted wind-up music-box. As the reel ends, the woman turns to look at us, shadows concealing her face. A chill runs down your spine: she is staring directly at you. She stands up and walks over to the chair in the foreground. The silence is deafening. She sits on the chair facing the open stage, and becomes part of the audience.

A man wearing an incense hat flips between coloured pages. A hobo plays with gum and bottles and performs a few magic tricks before shuffling offstage. A masked man performs a Shamanistic ritual on the woman, using nails, wine, and cement blocks. He throws wine onto the woman's arms and legs and hastily rubs it into her skin. Moments later, she leaves the chair and transitions from observer to player, interacting with the other cast members. Brief moments of levity interrupt the downward spiral into insanity, as what starts as a series of comical shorts becomes something far more sinister. The woman is now smoking at a table, clearly troubled. The cigarette blows bubbles instead of smoke. A wine bottle on the far side of the table inches toward the other side. The woman stares at it, picks it up, and puts it back. It moves again. If you could not laugh, you would burst into tears. What the hell is going on? Knives and switchblades present the possibility of violence, but the dream-state of the act prevents it. Images projected onto multi-layered screens show Russian dolls and old woman's hands. The bizarrely melodic music adds to the experience, creating a sense-overwhelming performance which leaves you dazed, disoriented, and thirsting for more.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this, Charles, however belatedly! White Cabin was one of my favourite shows at PuSh.