“It’s very ironic that to create spontaneity, to make people feel special, you have to manufacture that… To get a truly genuine moment, you have to make it up, and you have to rehearse it.”
-Claude Wampler, during the excellent noon chat “Performance Now,” which you can (and MUST) listen to .
I knew nothing about Claude Wampler’s work when I entered her show, and for that I am eternally grateful. I asked my friends not to tell me anything, except whether or not they liked it. What I didn’t realize, is how much that innocuous question would play a role in thinking about “Performance (Career Ender).” When I was initially bouncing around ideas for this entry, I was thinking about the experience more in terms of Dadaist work, and I was heading towards saying that this has all been done before, and how even someone who knew nothing about her, and very little about art, was not surprised. But then I listened to the noontime chat, and then I went to the second Sunday morning Cartune Express, and then I got it. Or, more importantly, my “it.”
Stay with me here…
Hung over, tired, and disheveled, I took a seat in one of Living Room theaters comfy seats ready for some … stuff. There was room this time, as they had opened another theater next door to show the work, and so I didn’t have to sit on the concrete as I had the week before and wait a half an hour before the show started due to technical difficulties (is that a bell?). But on this Sunday, a week later, more technical difficulties ensued, and the show had to start and restart over about 6 times before I left to make the noontime chat. In the other theater, they couldn’t even get the DVD to play, and had to show the previous year’s footage. (Blame goes all around by the way, if you have a week to make a DVD play, and it doesn’t, you all screwed up. Or, enlightened me.) How I liked C.E was based upon a completely different experience than someone in the other theatre, pauses, disruptions, and the cleverness of the in-breakdown banter around us made each audience member’s experience unique, as it is at every event, and at every moment, and that is why Claude Wampler works this way. To give an audience a unique experience that is or seems spontaneous, she uses plants, breakdowns, etc… and it is actually far more a loving notion than simply wanting to fuck with people. (Some people’s love involves more ….discipline than others).
That Cartune Express accomplished what she was attempting so triumphantly is the reason why she is halting this line of performance for the time being, and I’m excited to see what she does next. Claude is obviously a very intelligent person, and writing her off is a huge mistake.
Wait Wait Wait! Maybe she’s manipulating Cartune Express…I should have known. And that jerk who cut me off earlier….Curse you Claude!)
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