Performance Art

Christopher Danowski's "Indecision" Gets a Live Reading Friday

I had a lot of great nights out on the town last year, but for me the highlight of 2009 was being able to experience the first part of Theater In My Basement's "o++o cycle" at Teatro Caliente

It was unlike anything I've ever seen in this town: sitting shoulder to shoulder with at least 20 strangers inside a house, watching an immersive mix of film and performance art that blurred the line between theater and ritual, a night so touching and strange I still wonder if it was only a dream. The kind of night that makes you wonder if everything else in your life is a dream and this was your one moment of wakefulness. 

They've been on my radar ever since. And it seems this summer that dot has started to blip as the group gears up to do a play reading and finish their four-part o++o cycle, remaining active in spite of the looming loss of their house gallery, The Basement. I talked to Christopher Danowski, whose new play "Indecision" will be having a reading this Friday, about his work and the group's future plans.

What can we expect to see on Friday night for the reading of "Indecision"?

It's just the scripts in hand, with Ana Contreras, Louis Farber, Franc Gaxiola, Marcelino Quiñonez, and Wilana White-Coyote playing the parts of actors reading scripts in their hands inside of a house. The story behind Indecision is a torrid love story that takes some terribly romantic turns, and because of this, it is very sad. The end of romance is either sadness or pornography, as some people have said, and no one will be naked in the reading, except for under their lab coats. We've all been working together for the past 18 months on developing hidden techniques for moving in and out of states of trance, as well as physical and emotional ecstasy, and this will happen to everyone who comes, but it will be entirely imperceptible. It will look and sound just like a new play being read in an alternative space.

Do you have any plans to find a new home-base for TIMB, or will you do things at different venues in the future?

There may be more events here, depending on when the short sale of the house closes. Until they make us leave, we will be doing things here in July and August. In the future, we're looking to do our events in other venues again. We've worked in lots of spaces before, like Deus Ex Machina, Modified Arts, Perihelion, and the Trunk Space. We'll likely show up in those spaces again in the fall. But we are planning on finishing out the entire TIMB project by the end of 2010, to say goodbye to something we loved, in order to start something new. That new thing is under wraps right now.

Do you have any new projects in the works, after you finish the O++O cycle? Will TIMB be taking a hiatus for the summer, or will there be upcoming events to keep an eye out for?

Oh, yes, good, I'm glad you asked. The last o++o performance will be toward the end of July. This will be the 4th in that series, and it's theme is marriage between ocean and earth, so we are currently making short trailers for it, which will ritually show what happens to people when they are under enormous stress, but also hopelessly in love with the elements. Elemental love is always destructive, and it's the most fun, so we keep returning to that. After that will be Jonathan Hernandez' "The Lydia Project", a multimedia ritual memory about things that fall apart.That's going to be in mid-August.

With the loss of The Basement, will this have any impact on this year's Teatro Caliente?

If we do, it will be the 8th and final year of the festival. Perhaps this would be a good time to put out a call for new work for it. We'd like the last one to be a return to the first one, where people do short works of experimental performance. Nothing longer than 20 minutes, and nothing that looks like straight theater. For this year, the theme is going to be centered on the border...I know that's been a kind of tired idea in academic performance circles for awhile, but in these times, and in this particular place, the border metaphors have the weight of bones, which is to say, they're very real, so we're looking for work that addresses what's going on right now. Spanish or English or both or Cocopah or no language, all of these will be considered. Big on irony though, we like irony.

The "Indecision" reading will be on Friday, June 25th, 7:30 at The Basement (915 W. Fillmore). Suggested donation $5-25.

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Ashley Naftule