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    Faye Driscoll: You r Me
    Photo by Paula Court

    Fruit and Loins

    Faye Driscoll makes a mess in The Kitchen


    Given as much time as she needs, Faye Driscoll will make the biggest mess she can — and the audience will applaud her for it. With Jesse Zaritt, she has taken a deeply strange, hilarious duet and developed it into something disturbing and ecstatic — and deeply recognizable. You're Me rides the id to some surprising places and doesn't give a damn what the superego says.

    Choreography by: Faye Driscoll.
    Dancers: Faye Driscoll, Jesse Zaritt.
    Music by: Chris Giarmo.
    Sound design by: Chris Giarmo.
    Set design by: Sara C. Walsh.
    Costumes by: Emily Roysdon.
    Lighting design by: Amanda K. Ringger.
    Production stage manager: Randi Rivera.
    Dramaturgy: Nina Mankin.
    The Kitchen
    April 12-21, 2012

    Driscoll and Zaritt like painting in You're Me, and they are like a painting as we walk in. As two regal statues layered in finery and jewels, they move just enough for us to realize they're alive, like one of the painted figures on the Rambla in Barcelona. As clothing and accoutrements fall away through attrition and a little extra movement, the absurdity of the dressup reveals itself. Fruit, offered on platters to the audience before and after the show, is plentiful throughout, as if the whole evening is some rich Medieval painting run amok.

    Taking intelligible notes during this dreamlike performance seems as fruitful as writing while asleep, so only the gist and moments of special drama remain in mind. There is never a moment where we don't wonder what will happen next, and the moment everything seems to be sheer fun is the moment before a keening, wrenching release of raw pain. There is certainly a progression, or devolution, but no map.

    Faye Driscoll: You r Me
    Photo by Paula Court

    Much of the progression feels like a boy/girl romance, from first meeting to total consumption. Things bump along in little bits and starts, victories and defeats. Everything seems both open to experimentation and fairly guarded, initially. As familiarity increases, things shift to more primitive need fulfilment. In the strangest and strongest example of this, he becomes a baby bird with mouth open, she a mommy eagle, both making only guttural sounds to communicate, as she flies across the stage to a backlit bunch of green grapes, glowing like nirvana, and brings them back in her mouth, suddenly incapable of anything but dropping food from her mouth to his, frantic until one hits its target and baby is sated.

    Meanwhile, little boundaries of yours and mine, and maybe ours, are staked out with long white straps that come from little white chests of personal effects, the ones the statues stood upon. These and a large white backdrop, which becomes a floor and even a tunnel, are clever set design elements by Sara C. Walsh. Props by Emily Roysdon of paint, fruit, powder and clothes fill out the rest and feed the mess.

    The messiest, and funniest, scene has each using cans of paint and oranges to play boy (her) or big man (him), and then using the paint to fuel a frenzy of self-decoration and signifiers, trading paint cans and everything else in some elaborately overblown sex fantasy. Just as the hilarity hits its peak, though, something passes her threshold of play and the bottom falls out, into the abyss, and she is a moaning, suffering lump on the ground.

    The timing and depth of Driscoll's breakdown rip the throat out of joy for what feel like minutes. Zaritt, and everyone else, retreats as far away as possible and watches carefully, unsure how to proceed. Somehow, slowly, the moment passes and the power of play and fantasy reasserts itself. By the time the chests are pushed together and she is a shape-shifting dervish standing on both, with him feeding her bits of clothing and accessories as fast as he can, we are laughing with her and at her unbridled release, until she scares him to the back wall again where he can only, timidly, applaud her ecstasy.

    APRIL 25, 2012

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