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Performance Club

Performance Club: Woozy Watching Wooster

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So, it’s not ideal to see work when you’re sick. But it can lead to singular experiences.

I remember a fever making Noémie Lafrance’s already dizzying “Descent” a downright vertiginous experience. Or the ballet gala when I was hopped up on allergy medicines (as I recall I’ve never enjoyed that particular choreographer’s work so much, before or since).  

Then came the Wooster Group’s “North Atlantic” on Tuesday. The Performance Club trouped over to the Baryshnikov Arts Center (more than 60 of us!), and about a third stuck around after at the fabulously accommodating Concrete Bar for food, drink and deconstructing. I couldn’t stay late on account of my cold, and my fuzzy brain couldn’t always keep up with this wickedly sly take on the war musical.

Or maybe that’s just a convenient excuse. In any case, please fill me in on what you all discussed after I left. And those of you who couldn’t stay, or will be seeing the show on another night, please chime in, too. Meantime, here are a few dazed and confused reactions:

1. I kept thinking of Karinne Keithley’s comments about the avant-garde being traditional at this point, and what a pleasure it is to sink into a classic of the tradition. It somehow makes me hugely happy that the Woosters are still "far out" to some folks and “Hi-Falutin Bourgeoise Exclusionism” to others (as one P. Club wag put it).

2. I wish I could keep this cast in my pocket  and take them out on blah days. Kate Valk, will you and your dirty mouth marry me?

3. I loved what one member, Stacy, said about the work being a relentless machine, entirely disinterested in her as an audience member; I geeked out on the play’s wonderful tight structure, and loved feeling alienated and entertained all at once.

4. The dialogue was, what, 94 percent cliché? The sexual stereotypes were so blatant and ridiculous, that it took awhile to see that the men were actually the objectified ones.

5. Will it never be an insult to call a man an intellectual in mainstream America? “North Atlantic” was written in 1982; some things never go out of style.