W+F New York Times Review

performance — andrew on July 15, 2010 at 5:05 pm

My latest full-length show, WOW+FLUTTER finished a sold-out run at the incomparably fantastic LIC venue The Chocolate Factory Theater in February.  I’ve been compiling the documentation and will be continually posting and updating things here.  In the mean time, Claudia La Rocco wrote a review of WOW+FLUTTER in the New York Times.  Here it is:

photo: Robert Caplin for The New York Times

The distinctive shaftway connecting the two levels of the Chocolate Factory in Queens is the theatrical gift that keeps on giving. It’s only a matter of time until some enterprising artist eschews this Long Island City theater’s larger stages and makes an entire show in the confines of that brick-lined space.

Last Friday night, Andrew Schneider climbed, slid and threw himself out of (and sometimes down) the passageway during his new evening-length solo, “Wow + Flutter.” He was all over the place — literally and metaphorically — using a harness, interactive projections and custom-built, wearable electronics. Gadgets, almost nonstop babble on themes both esoteric and mundane, numerous pop-culture images and even a brief Michael Jackson dance created a sort of technological id, governed by, to take Mr. Schneider’s words slightly out of context, his “internal head speed.”

The audience was pressed against this id, since Mr. Schneider chose to place the stage area lengthwise in the narrow, white rectangular room. In this he evoked another technologically minded artist, John Jesurun, who last fall at the Chocolate Factory used the same spatial configuration and different multimedia smoke and mirrors to create a hauntingly claustrophobic experience.

Mr. Jesurun, of course, has been at this game for decades. By comparison, Mr. Schneider, who does multimedia and video work with both the Wooster Group and Fischerspooner, is just getting going. He is an engaging performer, but “Wow + Flutter,” which suffered from a self-consciously labored script, didn’t quite live up to the promise of an immersive, altered experience.

Still, there were nice touches throughout. Christine Shallenberg’s lighting included assaultive bursts, cool blues that flooded the space as if it were under water, and sleek, white tubing affixed to columns and facing Mr. Schneider. Grainy black-and-white video periodically gave glimpses of activity in the downstairs space, including ghostly dances. Kate Valk’s lips, via one of two video monitors hanging from the ceiling, had a sultry, sometimes creepy cameo as “This Girl,” the remote object of Mr. Schneider’s distracted, self-involved affection.

Mr. Schneider used scientific riffs, Omar Zubair’s live sound effects and a barrage of spliced video (often controlled by his muscular gestures, like sharp air punches done while wearing electronic-enhanced gloves) to hold forth on time, space and experience after death. Yet he kept returning to a quieter meditation on masculinity and the desperate need for attention. Beneath all the wow and flutter of this boy and his toys is the naked need to please.

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