In similar fashion to a time capsule, I am writing down what I think Nat Cursio’s “The Middle Room,” presented by Theatre Works as part of the inaugural Festival of Live Art (FOLA), might be before I see it so as to compare it to the experience of after—Robots in the home and flying cars by 2010! Really? You can’t be serious? In writing down what I expect, as surmised from interviews and descriptions of the performance; I am laying open my anxieties and smallness where the interactive is called for. The name alone—Festival of Live Art—fills this quiet mouse with dread. Role play? Pick them, over there. Vocalisations? I am mute. Watch me shrink. Audience participation? I take a back seat, the seat furthest from the stage. But when there is no stage in formal sense and one is in someone else’s lounge room of some 13-odd years, on their own, one highly visible, cumbersome audience member and one performer—what then? The idea of this performance fills me with intrigue, and though my inhibitions are many and I don’t relish being looked at, I am keen to explore and participate and engage with this work, I think, or rather, I hope. My feelings in relation to this are pendulum swing. As I booked the last performance of ten, I have reservations that I will be a poor audience participant for a grand lounge room finale. I feel the weight of my own need to perform in this role. And this role, to be performed at 10.30am, is also to be documented, publicly, it transpires, on Instagram. I am really starting to second-guess my capabilities by now, but then, I guess this is what such a “conversation” is bound to confront. How will each different audience member shape what transpires? Will some be more playful and less inhibited?
Nat Cursio (with audience) in “The Middle Room.” Photograph by Rachel Roberts
One way to get to know the history of a company is through the “liner notes” of its “Swan Lake” production, and for those of us continuing to build an admiring familiarity with Pacific Northwest Ballet via its digital season offerings, Kent Stowell and Francia Russell’s “Swan Lake” provides an interesting glimpse into PNB prior to Peter Boal’s leadership.FREE ARTICLE