I think Philippe Quesene/Vivarium Studio was by far my favorite at TBA. I had seen them two years ago with La Demangeaison des Ailes (the Itching of the Wings) for TBA:06. I went with my boyfriend Kristan and I think that was the moment I realized he spoke French, which is probably when I fell in love with him; right there. I have always loved the French, which is how I ended up in England. Long story. And now I love both countries. Complicated I know. However, I did not let my love of the French color my judgment of the pieces. I swear.
Here is why I loved Vivarium Studio's new piece, L'Effet de Serge. It was beautiful and complex, but simple. It wasn't trying to be more than it was. It was a focused piece and super cleaver. I like to refer to it as reality theater.
The play starts with an introduction from a man in a space suit. It is explained to us that the beginning of each piece begins with the ending of the last one. This space suit guy (played by the same person who play Serge) takes us on a tour of Serge's apartment and tells us a little bit about him. Next Serge enters and we watch his life unfold. He is no one special, just a ordinary guy who lives by himself and every Sunday he invites a different friend over and performs a light show for them. They are timed to music. It's pretty impressive how well they go together, but his friends are so-so about the effects. Three weeks go by and he invites all his friends over to watch the "big" performance. They come the way they came before, walking, biking, by car. Yes, by car. It was pretty cool.
Then I raced by car from Imago to PSU Lincoln Hall. I made it with plenty of time. I didn't know much about Superamas, but their picture looked cool. Everyone was dancing and having a good time. And I think that is exactly what they are deconstructing. This idea of happiness. Their show was entitled Big 3rd Episode (happy/end), which now I want to see episode 1: Big 1 (reality show/artifical entertainment) and episode 2: Big 2 (show/businsess).
Through a series of repeated scenes, Superamas, a French Austrian performance group, (again with the French) cynically examines our obsession with sex and vanity. The actors are beautiful and sexy and dubed, but that's the point. The repetitious scenes, mostly one inspired by Sex and the City, cut back and forth between disco-inspired dance numbers, familiar video clips, a French/Austrian video of self expression with football players and cheerleaders, and a film about Superamas' own success. However, the most horrific and also the most beautiful part is when there is a video of a car crash. When the video fades from the screen, the sound and lights take over and create this wonderful ballet. You are at the accident and not just watching it. There is no time to dwell on this because we are back in the ladies locker room to watch them strip down one more time. Bad feelings gone and back to the sexy ladies. Hott.