Rebecca Davis has a long relationship with material. Her dancers have worn shoes wrapped in newspaper, leaving smudges of black ink on white paper. They’ve sported unraveling sweaters, the trailing yarn making a sculptural design. She’s covered walls of a theater in security envelopes from floor to ceiling. In the final hands count beginning sounds, Davis moves on to a new source. The body itself is now her canvas, her material.
I have followed the work of Yanira Castro/a canary torsi ever since 2013, when I participated in early versions of “The People to Come,” a work that drew me in as I had never been drawn into a performance before. The piece took the audience and asked them to incorporate parts of their own stories into the dance,. This wasn’t just an immersive performance; we were being asked to co-create it. I was transfixed. In every a canary torsi piece, especially the magnificent “Court/Garden,” Castro has continued to redefine what it means to be part of a performance, for everyone from performer to audience. And from the audience, I never felt so essential to the creative process.
Yanira Castro is a structural obsessive. She is an art scientist. She sees the rules and patterns lurking just beneath the surface of things. The stuff that’s easier not to see. Her company—a canary torsi—is an anagram of her name. This should tell you almost everything you need to know: chaos staring at itself in the mirror, finding order.
CAST brings together a rotating cast of four performers, different each night, who negotiate a new script at each performance in front of a live audience. A computer generates a unique script culling from transcripts of over 100 hours of conversation with CAST’s 15 performers regarding casting, performing and the complexities of representation. It is a concentrated study of what constitutes a cast. CAST is part of a trilogy of works by a canary torsi premiering concurrently, including STAGE (Abrons Arts Center) and AUTHOR (The Invisible Dog) that examine how we (re)present ourselves in performance.