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  •  REVIEW: FAYE DRISCOLL: THANK YOU FOR COMING

    Faye Driscoll: Thank You for Coming
    Photo by Quinn Batson

    And We Mean That

    Thank You for Coming connects at Danspace

    By QUINN BATSON
    Offoffoff.com

    We humans are a funny bunch. Faye Driscoll sees this better than most and puts it on stage. Though glimmers of darkness and violence flit through here and there, Thank You for Coming: Attendance is a smilefest that involves and engages the audience.

      
    FAYE DRISCOLL: THANK YOU FOR COMING
    Choreography by: Faye Driscoll.
    Dancers: Giulia Carotenuto, Sean Donovan, Alicia Ohs, Brandon Washington, Nikki Zialcita.
    Sound design by: Michael Kiley.
    Set design by: Nick Vaughan and Jake Margolin.
    Lighting design by: Amanda K. Ringger.
     SCHEDULE
    Danspace
    March 6-8, 11, 13-15, 2014

    Five extraordinary performers — Giulia Carotenuto, Sean Donovan, Alicia Ohs, Brandon Washington and Nikki Zialcita — do the heavy lifting, but a helping subcast (Driscoll included) buzzes around distributing props and audience members throughout the piece.

    Taking full advantage of the church setting of Danspace, the Driscoll choir sings us a welcome from the balcony, including emergency procedures, then forms a processional line to enter the sanctuary and ascend the raised dais at its center, creating a living tableau that slowly begins to disintegrate and morph into an unholy cabal of carnal excess. From the faces of audience members, this is either horrifying or hilarious. The fact that all five stay physically connected through almost the entire process lends itself to the latter.

    Like the group on it, the dais slowly disintegrates from within, with some clever help, until it is nothing but a collection of modular audience seating. Meanwhile, almost invisibly, the cast has changed clothes and become a stop-motion animation movie that loops repeatedly. There is a high-school silliness to the misplaced affections and overwrought reactions that this stop-motion enhances.

    L-R: Nikki Zialcita, Giulia Carotenuto, Alicia Ohs, Sean Donovan, Brandon Washington in Faye Driscoll: Thank You for Coming
    Photo by Quinn Batson
    L-R: Nikki Zialcita, Giulia Carotenuto, Alicia Ohs, Sean Donovan, Brandon Washington

    It only becomes apparent halfway through the movie, if at all, that "Attendance" from the title is being "taken", as in school, from the moment we walk in and is being "called" by sound designer Michael Kiley, while the quintet on stage singsong-echo it back in random bits, like inside jokes — without disrupting the movie.

    Tiny emergencies pop up — in stop-motion — until this too blows up and a new form of organized chaos erupts in real time. Though it goes unnoticed during this lively, strange, raucous performance — as it should — there is so much craft involved in every level of Thank You. Every apparently casual interaction between cast and audience has a purpose, both logistically and, on a deeper and friendlier level, to get the audience involved.

    By the time the writhing snakes of fabric in the middle of the floor — yet another visible/invisible major transformation — have shed their skin to form a ring of revelers under a Mayfest canopy, and audience members are entering and leaving the ring as part of the performance, our heads, like the people onstage, swirl in happiness and relief.

    MARCH 9, 2014
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK



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