Footloose and fancy- free

Chicago Sun-Times - - AGENDA - By TAL ROSENBERG @ tal­rosen­berg

Some peo­ple dance to the beat of a dif­fer­ent drum, but chore­og­ra­pher and direc­tor Faye Driscoll beats the drum of a dif­fer­ent dance. At first, her per­for­mances seem spas­modic or ju­ve­nile; the cast be­have like kids in a kin­der­garten class af­ter they’ve chased Pop Rocks with Pepsi. But Driscoll of­ten ad­dresses adult sub­ject mat­ter— most promi­nently, sex— and her pieces are so ob­vi­ously struc­tured that it’s im­pos­si­ble to ac­cuse them of be­ing thrown to­gether. Her work is kind of like Merce Cun­ning­ham’s, al­beit fil­tered through Satur­day- morn­ing car­toons.

Thank You for Com­ing: Play, orig­i­nally cre­ated in 2016, is the sec­ond part of a pro­posed tril­ogy in which Driscoll, ac­cord­ing to her web­site, “ex­tends the sphere of in­flu­ence of per­for­mance to cre­ate a com­mu­nal space where the co- emer­gent so­cial mo­ment is ques­tioned, height­ened, and pal­pa­ble,” a long­winded and jar­gon- heavy way of say­ing that the au­di­ence par­tic­i­pates in the show. When Driscoll brought the first in­stall­ment of the se­ries, Thank You for Com­ing: At­ten­dance, to the MCA in early 2016, those who at­tended were in­structed to sit on the floor, and some even took part in the event, whether as as­sis­tants or through con­tact with the per­form­ers. Au­di­ence mem­bers were asked if they minded be­ing part of the show, a ges­ture that might seem po­lite and ten­der but was re­ally a sly com­men­tary on the of­ten awk­ward pro­to­cols of ev­ery­day so­cial in­ter­ac­tion. The dancers

in­di­cated as much in some of the chore­og­ra­phy, which in­volved over- the- top greet­ings fol­lowed by equally em­bel­lished demon­stra­tions of dis­gust, an ex­ag­ger­a­tion of how most peo­ple act kindly when they first en­counter some­one they know, yet im­me­di­ately talk un­fa­vor­ably about that per­son be­hind their back. In other words, con­tem­po­rary dance is an ap­prox­i­ma­tion of the phoni­ness of mod­ern- day so­cial be­hav­ior.

Thank You for Com­ing: Play ran late last year at BAM Fisher in Brook­lyn, and a New York Times re­view ad­vised that au­di­ences should once again ex­pect to be in­cluded in the per­for­mance. Yet whereas At­ten­dance was fo­cused on so­cial pol­i­tics, Play looks to be more point­edly po­lit­i­cal. Misog­yny and white supremacy are ex­plic­itly men­tioned; a pres­i­dent- elect’s name is al­luded to, though never stated. Driscoll takes care to pre­vent pub­li­cists or crit­ics from spoil­ing too much— the un­ex­pected na­ture of the show is part of the thrill— but the Times re­view also re­vealed that chil­dren’s games fig­ure heav­ily. The take­away is that you can ex­pect to have fun. For any­one who as­sumes that dance is stuffy or overly for­mal, Driscoll’s work is a wel­come flip of the bird. v THANK YOU FOR COM­ING: PLAY 11/ 9- 11/ 12: Thu- Sat 7: 30 PM, Sun 2 PM, Mu­seum of Con­tem­po­rary Art, 220 E. Chicago, 312- 280- 2660, mcachicago. org, $ 30, $ 10 stu­dents.

JULIETA CERVANTES

Ali­cia Ohs, Bran­don Wash­ing­ton, Paul Singh, and Sean Dono­van

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