Chuck Taylor All-Stars, those venerable Converse sneakers, were once the cutting edge in athletic shoes. They've long since given way to NASA-level contraptions in competition arenas. Similarly, Jean Cocteau's contributions to art and performance might seem a little, well, quaint.
Backwards Theatre, a new avenue for experimental theater from preeminent Phoenix performance artist Jeff Falk, salutes the late French surrealist with Cocteau's Eyes. The evening of performance pieces showcases the use of language, imagery, and action in a way that draws from Cocteau's well of the classical avant-garde. Falk explains that "merely reproducing Cocteau's work might not be that interesting, but in his day, it was incredible." Cocteau was an art-hyphenate of his time, mesmerized by the complex interplay within language and communication. While he had no single masterpiece, La Voix Humaine (The Human Voice) -- which featured only one side of a telephone conversation -- comes close.
If thats not enough for you, Falk, fresh from the New Genre Festival in Tulsa, Oklahoma, pares things down simply: "He was an innovator, so we like him."