Dayna Hanson: Gloria’s Cause
Posted by Ariel Frager
The appeal of Schoolhouse Rock never fades for those of us who grew up in the 70′s. I still sing, “a noun is a person, place or thing,” at those important moments when I need to know the elements of English grammar. Suffice to say Dayna Hanson and company’s new work in progress, Gloria’s Cause reminded me of Schoolhouse Rock, a new approach to the telling and retelling of American history with a dancing Bald Eagle, incongruous narration, random dance interludes all tied up in a fun-loving package with a bevy of punk rock cords. Hanson dares to bring us a multi-sensory experience of the American story and it left me with a hankering to refill my Ritalin prescription.
I went to this show on September 11 and somehow it felt like a perfect way to honor that day. Hanson looks at America, our new America with all our backward thinking about what freedom is and how we got here. At one point a performer wearing a strangely cartoonish and realistic and scary Bald Eagle mask declared, “I like to think of myself as an empathic bird with an ironic nature.” The monologue by this philosophical symbol of ours reminded me of all those post 9/11 freedom lovin’, flag waiving compatriots only this bird seemed to be reaching some sort of truth. What did our forefathers fight for? What is this freedom of ours? Is it worth holding on to or are we going to give it away, little by little. Dayna Hanson pushes the boundaries of history telling and that is part of our freedom, the freedom to be as silly as possible and still have something valuable to say.