Dance / Performance
KFDA - Faye Driscoll - Thank you for coming: SpaceThu 01 — Sun 04 Jul 2021
How to be together. A recurring question in the work of American choreographer Faye Driscoll. In Thank you for coming: Space, she once again questions and reinvents the community that is formed during a performance through the nature of the relationships created between performers and audience. In a very physical empowerment ritual the audience is invited to collaborate in her choreographic writing as she pulls on ropes and pulleys, or lifts bricks and weights. Without ever falling into participatory and coercive theatre, Driscoll extends the performance’s sphere of influence to include the spectators in a festive and joyful ritual, allowing for the emergence of an ephemeral collective body, always in metamorphosis. This reflection on intimacy, connection with and distance from the public, which she has been engaged in for a long time, takes on a particularly present-day dimension in times of pandemic. On the occasion of the festival, Driscoll reconstitutes this work to make it compatible with today’s Covid measures, at the same time amplifying the power of choreography to create tension between physical proximity and distant relationship.
Thank You For Coming: Space is built to be a rite for the grieving body, the body lost, disoriented, bewildered, broken.
When the pandemic began, all my performances of Space were cancelled.
In the first month of shutdown I went for a walk and bumped into a friend. We stood far away and awkwardly talked. He casually proclaimed, “The handshake is dead.”
Shook by his nihilistic erasure of a gesture I thought, “If such a chaste choreography as a handshake is dead, what about my work?” It must be extra dead. Or worse, it must be digital.
Dries [Douibi] and Daniel [Blanga Gubbay] contacted me several months into the pandemic about creating a Covid version of Space [at the Kunstenfestivaldesarts].
In Space I am alone with the audience. Intimate, close, touching. I scream near them, stumble into laps, drag my vibrating body, mouth open, across the ground. I ask, “Will you hold my head?” And people hold it, again and again. The full weight of it.
But as an artist I felt the imperative to adapt, to extend my body into this moment where people are dying alone, untouched and upheld. This is not the world I want, but it is the one we have. To hold the tension of intimacy and distance. To try find new mechanisms and prostheses for touch through objects, imagination, sound. To take risk within this extreme constraint.
And so here I am. Trying to hold, to hold on, to hold space.
- Faye Driscoll
- Faye Driscoll
Concept, creation, performance: Faye Driscoll | Visual Design: Nick Vaughan, Jake Margolin | Lighting design: Amanda K. Ringger | Sound Design: Andrew Gilbert | Songs, sounds: Faye Driscoll | Artistic advisors: Jesse Zaritt, Sacha Yanow | Text advisor: Amanda Davidson | Additional advisor: Dages Juvelier Keates | Production manager: Devin Cameron | Sound Engineer: Zachary Crumrine | Company/Tour Manager: Samantha Mohr | Production, Management: George Lugg | Coproduction recreation: Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Tanz im August | Commissioned by: Peak Performances as part of the Performing Arts Residency Lab (PeARL) at Montclair State University, New Jersey | Co-commissioned by the Walker Art Center | With funds provided by: the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the William and Nadine McGuire Commissioning Fund, Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University through the Wexner Center Residency Award Program | The work was made possible with the generous support from: the Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards Program, the Jerome Foundation | Developed with residency support from: Camargo Foundation, the Pillow Lab at Jacob’s Pillow, the Rauschenberg Foundation | Thank You for Coming: Space is a project of Creative Capital | Thank You for Coming: Space premiered April 2019 at The Alexander Kasser Theater, Montclair State University, New Jersey