As part of the Performa 11 Biennial the art team of Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset were commissioned to create this abstracted autobiographical play between two characters with British accents who awake in unfamiliar attire on an abnormally tall bunk bed in an otherwise darkened non-spatiotemporal void. They contemplate their situation, as well as their station in life, and their validity as artists existing in an art world they don't entirely respect.
The performance stars Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare in Love) as ID and Charles Edwards as Me (Elmgreen and Dragset's alter egos) and draws references to Samuel Beckett's Happy Days (1961), Waiting for Godot, and the Sarah Thornton's novel 7 Days In The Art World.
I didn't manage to make it to opening night, which, if you were taking 7 friends to VIP would have cost you 10 Grand, but apparently had a pretty good art world attendence including Marina Abramovic.
I got to see the second and final performance of the production, which was two days later. I got to the theatre early, as so apparently did Joseph Fiennes' brother Ralph Fiennes who was in the lobby reading and marking what I assume was a script.
I was hoping to see something about what the art world in this production, and possible gleam some wisdom from frustrated mid-career artists, but being that they are performance artists and onetime lovers dealing with a career post break-up, yet still working as an artistic duo, nothing in their career seemed the least bit relatable to me.
A highlight of the show was near the end when a "SpedEx" delivery woman played by Kim Criswell was air lifted into the scene only to be beaten unconsious by the main characters before waking up to belt out the U2 song "ONE" to end the show, which I don't know how they got permission to do, and which totally didn't make any sense, but was one of the more entertaining things to come out of this play.
A lot of the play was very inside, strung out way too long, and most of the jokes fell flat. Even the physical comedy was weak, the main characters deciding to share socks etc. . . amature at best. In the end I left confused, and wondering what exactly just happened. . . oh, and btw, we never did learn where the fuck the play took place.
Bottom photo by Paula Court - Artforum
For more on the performance, read the Ny Times Article, and check out some great photos of the show by Paula Court on Whitewall Daily.
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