Miguel Gutierrez, And lose the name of action. Photo: Ian Douglas.

Miguel Gutierrez, And lose the name of action. Photo: Ian Douglas.

by Mary Rechner

For me it’s an enjoyable risk to invite a curious adventuresome person to the theater, especially to a play or performance neither of you know much about.  I attended Friday night’s performance of And lose the name of action with my mom.

My mom sees a lot of theater and performance in New York with my dad (they live on Long Island) and each time they visit Portland we check out some music, dance, or visual art, and often all three.

My mom and I were both riveted from beginning to end by And lose the name of action.

On the drive home we talked about the way the (each very different) three male and three female dancers’ bodies and movements, as well as their utterances (as well as the costumes, lighting, and set design) captured so many disparate aspects of life: movement and stasis, pleasure and pain, connection and estrangement, dark and light, clarity and confusion, the precise and the inchoate.

“Like a great novel,” I said.

“You can put a novel down,” said my mom.  “This was unrelenting.”

True.  The simultaneity of the music, moving bodies, lighting, images on screens, recordings of philosophical treatises, and utterances of dancers (both intelligible and unintelligible) felt like wave upon wave of multisensory stimulation.  We found it difficult to make any one unified sense or meaning of the piece, and this made it very interesting to talk about.

We wondered how the piece “would have been different” if broken up into separate shorter dances, and what it would have been like to have had an intermission, agreeing that it probably would have lost some of its oceanic immediacy.

Neither of us had read the TBA Performance Program prior to the performance, thus we did not know about Gutierrez’s father, whose neurological problems “coincided with [Gutierrez’s] growing interest in the role perception plays to determine reality and how various disciplines talk about the mind body connection” until after we were home, and read the program.

The information gave us yet another thread to weave into the lively conversation we continued to have long into the evening while drinking wine and eating egg salad sandwiches.

Mary Rechner is the author of Nine Simple Patterns for Complicated Women.  She lives in Portland.