STREB: Thursday September 8, 2005
A Great turnout or Giant head in my way or Man vs. the machine.
Catie O’Keefe
It never fails; I always get stuck behind the people who are at least six
feet tall with kids on their shoulders. This time was no different, except
the six foot tall person was a photographer. Where the action moved- his
head followed. Oh the agony!!! Regardless, I heard the first three parts
of STREB which I though was sort of an interesting way to experience the
action. I could hear their calls of “Right! “ “Center “ “Left “ and
such as they attempted to fly off the trampoline. This was followed shortly by a
loud thudding noise which the crowd seems to gasp in horror at but secretly
I think they loved it.


Finally I ‘d had enough and I moved myself over to the front left of the
stage. It was just in time to see a delicate dance between six people and
two cinder blocks. Amazing! I think this was one of my favorite pieces by
far. I found the mix of simplistic timing with the illusion of the
choreography very intriguing. For example, the blocks will always swing at
a certain speed (an object in motion will remain in motion unless acted on
by an outside force). At one point someone said that one of them got hit
but all I saw to support this was a block that was now spinning a little
bit as it swung. But I digress. Anyway, it was an interested play on the
uncontrollable but constant motion of the blocks with controlled human
movement. And dang STREB can bend when one of those blocks are headed
their way.
During intermission I moved up towards Starbucks at sat precariously
perched about twenty feet above the pool at the information center. What a
view!! From here I saw my second favorite performance by STREB. There ‘s
nothing quite like six people hurdling themselves at a transparent wall.
They looked like small hamsters in a third-grade class hamster cage running
full force at a carrot that little Timmy is dangling in their view. We
responded with a mix of laughter and other noises like “Ye-ow “ and
“Ohhhhh “. Though this act seemed to follow the show ‘s ever present theme
of being trapped or tied to something, I especially like it because their
only limitation was the wall, which ended up not being much of a limitation
at all. Instead they used the wall to rebound, get stuck to, and
ultimately challenge. STREB vs. the Plexiglas wall!
The last piece I found to be exceptionally moving. Not to say that hanging
above a stage in a hoop isn ‘t amazing in itself but there was something
oddly beautiful and melancholy about the piece called Fly. My boyfriend
felt that the machine distracted from the performance, like they were
saying, “look at this cool thing we built “ instead of look at what we ‘re
doing with this thing. I beg to differ. I thought the dance and the
connection that was shared between the people and flying machine was
inspiring. Ahhhhh, to be able to fly; What a marvel and yet they make it
look so easy. My boyfriend ‘s point that the piece was all about the
machine proved false to me by the constant contact and direction given by
one of the males who guided the flying contraption and provided extra
weight to send the flyer higher (Ha! That rhymes!).
Overall I thought the performance was very well received. Though I was
often reminded of Cirque de Soleil there was something more tangible about
this performance; Perhaps it was more of Portland ‘s style. I ‘m glad to
have seen so many people there enjoying the show. It was a great way to
start of the festivities.