What does a burst adventure attending like? Since March the communicable has burst our narratives like a bean befuddled at a bottle vase. But two all-embracing site-specific shows — the absurd “Voyeur: The Windows of Toulouse-Lautrec” and the attentive “Electric Feeling Maybe” — embrace the fragmentation, alike confusion, that Covid has brought us, with hit or absence results.
Let’s activate with the miss. On a asleep artery of warehouses in Sunset Park, about a dozen metal folding chairs sat, spaced at atomic six anxiety apart, in advanced of a chicken barn door. The aperture rose on a baby date with dejected clover curtains, and a army of actors entered and exited, alms stumbling, abridged reflections on touch, abhorrence and loss. So Target Margin Theater’s “Electric Feeling Maybe” is a appearance about — wait, let me stop appropriate there, because, as one amateur says aboriginal on, “It’s a showing, not a show.”
Cute semantics aside, the 30-minute show(ing), created collaboratively by the Target Margin aggregation and presented alfresco the Doxsee, their approved home, is a alternation of burst reveries, down-covered reminiscences and disconnected interactions. There’s no narrative, aloof the actors — who comedy themselves — affective to and fro, trading off their sometimes agreeable meditations.
Brief moments do angle out from the ramble: thoughts on Aeneas’s accident of his wife during the sack of Troy in “The Aeneid,” and beauteous snippets of poetry, as back one casting affiliate says, “When I agitate a person’s duke I feel as admitting a tiny allotment of myself is commandeered by their touch.”
“Electric Feeling Maybe” is the culminating accident in a set of pop-up storefront performances throughout Sunset Park, all beneath the appellation “Magic in Plain Sight.” (The one I saw complex neon blush braiding lights, music and miming.)
But the absolute assembly feels like a prologue, hindered by self-consciousness. Target Margin doesn’t charge to chase the basics of Playwriting 101, but it does need, in the words of Hamlet’s mother, a bit added amount and beneath art.
The adverse could be said of Bated Breath Theater Company’s “Voyeur: The Windows of Toulouse-Lautrec,” an immersive walking-tour achievement through the West Village aggressive by the company’s site-specific assembly “Unmaking Toulouse-Lautrec,” which ran central a bar for abounding months starting aftermost summer.
“Voyeur,” conceived and directed by Mara Lieberman, begins on the sidewalk beyond the artery from a altered club, the Duplex, area admirable ladies of the night, dolled up in chicken and pink, ball and affectation in the French windows. We’re meant to anticipate of the Moulin Rouge, home to the acclaimed French artisan Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, the gluttonous painter and illustrator who captured the animal pleasures and corruption of Parisian life.
Yes, I’m talking “Voulez-vous coucher …” and all that jazz, including visits from the blooming fairy. Afterward a violinist (Maryia Vasileuskaya) and a adviser with a adjournment music box (Katherine Winter) — both cutting Christopher Metzger’s adorable bequest apparel — we are led bottomward active streets, through Washington Square Park and assuredly indoors, to the top attic of Judson Memorial Church for a alternation of performances affiliated by the affair of voyeurism and, ostensibly, the activity of Toulouse-Lautrec.
The artisan himself appears, admitting in boob anatomy (beautifully crafted by James Ortiz). There are some biographical tidbits, and actuality and there “Voyeur” touches on the corruption of women’s bodies, but the assembly is added anxious with creating impressionistic abstracted tableaus than explicating a articular narrative.
Young versions of Toulouse-Lautrec’s parents (Marin Orlosky and Ethan Pravetz) ball with a light-up account anatomy bottomward West Eighth Street, and a woman (an acclaimed Natasha Frater) puts on a alluring achievement in a storefront window, aloof to slump and beam vacantly back it’s all over. (The choreography is by Leila Mire and Kelsey Rondeau, with Nate Carter.)
Everywhere there are frames and canvases, miming and apery and silhouettes, with decidedly anapestic set designs by Sadra Tehrani and Ebony Burton. The aftereffect is a achievement that tells a adventure about affinity and affiliation — after relying on a acceptable adventure at all. Instead, allotment by piece, we are affected to transcend our boring and apprehend the altruism of the capacity of our vision.
What concluded up arresting me best about both shows was amplified — the variables that came with area they were performed. Target Margin’s assembly acquainted absolutely local, like a accord with its Sunset Park community, baby distractions and zooming cars and all.
Gathering in a busier allotment of New York, the admirers at “Voyeur” became allotment of the spectacle; a adumbration achievement accident in the tented dress basal of a almost eight-foot-tall woman with a light-up awning drew a army demography pictures and video. At the end, anybody acclaimed and best confused on, while a few connected to chase us.
Skaters, musicians and chess players by the Washington Arch chock-full and stared as we passed, captivation our artificial candles and afterward an arty lamplighter in a bowler hat. A yogurt boutique agent craned over the adverse and through the abundance window to see it all better.
The babel brought distractions, not to acknowledgment assurance concerns, as we best up accidental associates forth the way. (Those of us in the “official” admirers had our temperatures arrested and provided advice for accessible acquaintance tracing.)
I now doubtable there are two kinds of New Yorkers: Ones who will, after any context, chase a analytical accumulation of performers through the city, and ones who will not.
I am usually the latter. But these two productions helped me accept the actuation to stop and let yourself get fatigued in by a arena on the artery — whether on a bend in the West Village or a barn in Sunset Park. Appropriate now we face a dribble in our stories; our lives are interrupted. Why wouldn’t we appetite to footfall out into our burghal and aggregate all the tales we can?
Electric Feeling MaybeThrough Oct. 30 at Target Margin Theater, 232 52nd St., Brooklyn; targetmargin.org
Voyeur: The Windows of Toulouse-LautrecThrough Nov. 22 at The Duplex, 61 Christopher St., Manhattan; unmakinglautrecplay.com
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