At the Chocolate Factory Theater in Long Island City, Queens, the Institute of Useless Activity’s “This and That” is also experimental, but it occupies the other end of the overload spectrum. Its medium is light and shadow.
Meanwhile, at the Chocolate Factory, a former machine shop in Long Island City, there’s a show that Witkacy would have loved. “This and That” is chock-full of pure forms being manipulated and juxtaposed. Staged amid a mess of equipment and projectors and lights on stands, it has the feeling of a demonstration hour, a sharing among friends. It is free of psychology and dialogue, at least in the conventional sense, a bare hour of “choreography” made just from light and shadow.
This work lives in the space between us, Iris and me and inevitably ours. A thread, a tissue - word to movement to after image. What are we seeing when we see each other? And how does that seeing become a choreography? For now, a lighthouse as a guiding abstraction to clarity.
The Chocolate Factory Theater is thrilled to partner with The Bushwick Starr to present The Institute of Useless Activity’s THIS AND THAT, co-created by international theater director Phil Soltanoff (2020 Herb Alpert Award recipient) and performer/puppeteer Steven Wendt (Blue Man Group). What is THIS? What is THAT? — THAT imagines the creation of the universe, THIS is about the people in it – their romantic sense of longing, loss, alienation and near miss… a cowboy sleeps under the stars, a family puts their child to sleep for the night, a crooner serenades his lover, a jazz pianist fantasizes while he plays. The vignettes morph from one scene to another— hand shadows inspired by the sculptures of Henry Moore dissolve into each scene.
An Ocean of Forgiveness is a new composition for live solo percussion composed and performed by Efraín Rozas (who most recently appeared at The Chocolate Factory with luciana achugar), which slowly conjures an intense polyrhythmic trance, using complex percussive patterns and the resonance of the architecture. Rozas will be joined by light artist Kazue Taguchi (Japan/NY) who will manipulate a light sculpture in real time during the show.
VESSEL continues David Thomson’s research into the perception of identity, and the ways in which presence and absence operate within the human experience. Within an intricate physical installation (aka the “vessel” of the title), Thomson and his collaborating performers - Jaguar Mary X, Katrina Reid, Katie Workum and Nehemoyia Young - embody a physical practice developed specifically for the project, navigating pathways of transformation and altered states.
In December 2020, Andrea Kleine and Bobby Previte moved into The Chocolate Factory Theater and lived alone in the Covid-shuttered New York City venue for two weeks. They arrived with an air mattress, a toaster oven, a cooler of frozen Trader Joe’s meals, and an inflatable kiddie pool to bathe in. Every night they performed on stage for no one.
Dion TYGAPAW McKenzie presents their second work in progress presentation of Devil Woman (Obeah Woman), an opera in three parts—and their second commissioned project as a 2022 ISSUE Artist-In-Residence. Using Techno as their main genre of focus, the work urges us to renegotiate and expand our understanding of the genre.
Huevos a la Mexcla digs at the raw feelings and distortions generated by the arbitrary and intersecting physical and conceptual boundaries of race, culture, and laws - and attempts to conjure an objective sense of community and togetherness within those divisions.
Molt is a dance made with intense specificity for The Chocolate Factory Theater’s new space - reveling in four dancers’ by turns vulnerable, molting, and triumphant bodies; their operatic and primal voices; and the real-time morphing and mending of a large visual art installation by Ukraine/U.S-based visual artist Inna Babaeva.