Angel Reapers

Martha Clarke and Alfred Uhry's "Angel Reapers" American Dance Festival in Durham, N.C.(Photo by Sara D. Davis/ADF 2010)

Finely crafted furniture and harmoniously proportioned buildings are some of the things that come to mind when one hears the name “Shakers.” The Shakers (their formal name was The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing) considered work as a form of worship, a belief reflected in every aspect of their lives, from their simple unadorned furniture to the separate but equal living quarters. They believed in being perfect and in practicing celibacy. This fascinating group of people are the subject of Angel Reapers, a hybrid theatre, music and dance show presented by Arts Emerson at the Cutler Majestic Theatre.

Angel Reapers is choreographed and directed by MacArthur “Genius” Fellow Martha Clarke and written by Alfred Uhry, winner of the Academy Award (Driving Miss Daisy. Yes, this Driving Miss Daisy), two Tony Awards (Parade, which I saw a few years ago at the Boston Center for the Arts and The Last Night of Ballyhoo) and a Pulitzer Prize (not to brag, but last night’s opening was even more fantastic thanks to the presence of Clarke, Uhry and Arthur Solari, the musical director). Angel Reapers isn’t shy to explore and indulge in the many pleasures that the Shaker denied themselves. It is ravishing, seductive, and erotic made compelling by Clarke’s marvelous choreography and the many traditional Shaker songs sung a cappella. Angel Reapers will leave humming one or two of those songs as you exit the theatre. Of this, I’m certain.

Angel Reapers is playing until November 20th. For ticketing information, trailer, and more images click here.

A Psychotic State of Mind: Laurie Anderson’s “Delusion”

Before attending last night’s performance of Laurie Anderson’s Delusion, I knew very little of Anderson’s craft. However, because most of the time I am surrounded by artists and other creative types, it only took one friend to get me beyond excited for what I was about to experience at the Paramount Theater.

Laurie Anderson is considered a legend in the performing art world. Known for her multimedia presentations and innovative use of technology in art, theater and experimental music, Anderson’s latest solo performance Delusion allows for one beautiful and mesmerizing journey that sticks with you hours after experiencing it.

If you’re wondering what Delusion is, “Delusion is a mediation on life and language,” a meditation enhanced by the violin, electronic puppetry, music and on screen visuals.

The performance lasts 90 minutes which may be among the best 90 minutes of your life. There were moments that took my breath away and moments that made place many things into perspective. There was a moment in the performance that reminded me of the visuals of Terrence Malick, in particular his shots of grass and wheat. Re-visiting familiar territory (which for me was the moment Malick’s stunning grass visuals were referenced by Anderson) is part of Delusion.

Delusion is only playing until Sunday October 2, 2011. If you can make it, I highly recommend it for its beautiful visuals and music. Click this link for more information.