Sharon & I left Mershon Auditorium/Wexner Center for the Arts just over an hour ago, guided out the back door after a shared experience of the theater as a blank page as directed by Ann Hamilton and Ann Bogart and created and performed by the SITI Company.
It was apropos that we stopped in North Market for a bite before the show, as that’s where we first became acquainted with Ms Hamilton back in the ’90s when she arrived in Columbus and shopped frequently for fresh chicken at our Red Rooster Poultry stand.
After a few minutes converging in the Mershon lobby we were escorted to a section of seats in the upper, upper balcony to accommodate the 120 guests of the audience. The other 2300 seats in the theatre were covered by a light muslin and inaccessible. As we filed in and sat at almost the length of a football field above the stage we viewed the pedestrian activity of members of the SITI Company performing backstage tasks- the theater as a blank page had begun.
From here it’s just sensory impressions I absorbed as they emoted some cognitive reflections. Let me add, this piece was influenced by selections of Virginia Woolf’s TO THE LIGHTHOUSE, in which a company member read aloud throughout the performance, and with which the participatory audience actually handled the written word, printed on cloth ribbons and passed from seat to seat, the long linear line of language as magnified silhouettes overscale mundane movement mesmerized among volleys of non-haiku “a moment longer…time ran short” as we share amusement with ribbons of strangers with ribbons of text with the Q the tyranny of the alphabet the R the majesty of backstage litter the cloud of curtains the shreds of text falling floating grooming fabric a muslin mandala adding dimensions only to transform like Kali like a puppy like a pajama party on a boat covered in sleeping bags as layers of forgotten events lift from the cocoon of sentiment.