A good deal of buzz has attended Gloria’s Cause, a dance-theater work by the Seattle artist Dayna Hanson which opened a special preview presentation run last night (it premieres in December at On the Boards). The small crowd was full of industry insiders—and the Wooster Group’s Elizabeth LeCompte, whose interactive film, There Is Still Time…Brother, was to have opened yesterday before a technological meltdown caused the work to crash. (Good news, last I heard at the Works it was all but back up and running, and should start later today.)
As LeCompte made her way through the audience last night, people whispered to each other the way you might when seeing someone with a loved one on a deathbed (“Have you heard?” “Any news?”). One wag suggested I should go over to Brunish Hall and “blog about the sadness.”
But, really, I found what was happening on stage in “Gloria’s Cause” far more dispiriting, and I wondered what it was like for LeCompte to watch so many of the theatrical strategies she developed with the Wooster Group being rehashed in such tired fashion in this hot mess of a production, which took on sweeping American historical and political themes and did very little with them. It was classic kitchen-sink art: throw everything up and see what sticks. Put quotation marks around everything that doesn’t.
Critics don’t typically review in-progress work; so much is up in the air two months (or even weeks, sometimes) before opening night, what’s the point? So I’m not going to give a formal run-down here. I’ll just say that I hope Hanson and company make some big changes in the time they have left. The world already has far too many productions full of winking, self-conscious gestures, meta-tropes and manically busy action.