Lone Twin: Sledgehammer Songs: Friday September 16, 2005 8:30pm
Everything does sound better with a British accent- Part 2 (Lone Twin)
Catie O’Keefe
There are points in this performance when I really can’t tell the difference between watching a TBA piece or staring at one of the many odd people in Portland who talk to themselves while dancing around. Both are very realistic possibilities. In fact the performance begins outdoors on a street corner with one of the performers circling and hopping a bit around his wheelie cart. I’m thinking, “Ah yes, Portland. Where you can’t tell the street artists and the artist sponsored by the British Council apart.” I love it!!!
So we all gather around and listen as Lone Twin reads off from his clipboard. He introduces us to his friend and calls him over with a lonely toot on a plastic horn. The other answers back with a second lonely toot and they call to each other. The first invites the second over and he joins him. Now if you haven’t seen the show you might wonder what all this means. What’s the point? Why is this at all interesting? And why have 30 or so people gathered around these crazy people and not decided to flee back to their cars? Because It’s all in the language. It’s a sensational mix of words that evoke a slow beat poet who’s taking slam poetry lessons. Repeating and re-mixing words that become more familiar and more intriguing as the 21 dramas progress.
We are only outside for the “Cloud” making. Which consists of one of the two men dancing around with too many clothes on for over an hour. We, the audience, fill up plastic cups with water and wait until the exhausted man starts singing Cat Stevens’ “Wild World” at which point we all join in singing and toss the water upon the now shirtless exhausted man. Then the second man shines a light over his body and we watch the steam rise and he makes a “cloud”. What fun! Where else do we get to sing and throw water on a half naked Brit who’s yelling, “Come on Portland!” as he gets doused with what we were told was water from the Willamette.
Then the show moves inside where the rest of the 21 dramas take place. It’s hard to describe what happened with out detailing the rest of the show so I will just try to point out a few important observations. A simplistic set is made while the audience pours into the in-the-round theatre space consisting of a dirt circle and cat-tails that are placed in the middle. Again we start with one man who calls in the other to join him with his plastic horn. The dance begins again slowly and builds as the dramas add to the actions of the dance and the depth of the story. The words once again change places, repeat themselves, and take on new meanings as Gary the Revolver begins and endless circle dance before us.
We laugh about dance moves called the “Justine Timberlake” and the “Pigeon, the poor bloody poor pigeon.” There’s a sadness about the air though. Perhaps it’s the endless journey that this man is taking, the stories that end with crying and blood, or the sheer simple nature that this man dancing before us is everything we’ve ever known. Gary dances to a number of songs on a tape while applause plays on another tape. We are introduced to his blessings and his failings and both sound about the same. There is good and bad in everything and everything is good and bad.
At the climax of the first side of the tape Gary the Revolver destroys many of the cattails sending a cloud of fluff into the air. I watch as people try to get the airborne seeds off of their nice sweaters. Personally I think the image is rather cool. There’s a light up glove, handouts for the audience and a story of frozen shit. By the end the stage is a complete mess of dirt and murdered cattails and we are all invited outside again to witness the making of another “cloud”.
When leaving, it gives you a bit of a sense that the world is a better place, or maybe that’s it’s never changed but now you see if for what it is. It’s nothingness, it’s everything, it’s dark and light, and it’s ability to surprise us even when we think we know what’s coming next. It’s human nature, the journey, and community all together. “And the band plays on.”