Friday, May 2, 2008


I saw the theater/dance piece "paperweight" this evening at Luther, and it was fantastic. The piece really illustrated a lot of the concepts we've been discussing in class, which is expected really since Amanda, the director, has been in class with us. She did a really good job I think of tying the theories and discussions to the movement.

One evident theme in the piece was borders. Crossing physical borders, the borders in the piece change as the performers raised, lowered and shifted paper columns and screens. One scene in particular reminded me of crossing through customs, where there is a doorway of sorts and the performers needed to be inspected before they passed through it.

In addition, a lot of the different sections could be interpreted as different types of border crossings. Crossing deserts, boat crossings, sneaking across borders. In addition, the different types of barriers, from other people, from the environment, from within were evident in the movement. Sometimes the performers would stop one another, slowing each other down, sometimes they would run into walls, sometimes they would stop themselves.

The piece also was open to a lot of different meanings. I interpreted one scene where the performers put on and took off layers of clothing as trying on identity, seeing what fits and what doesn't, trying to fit with society's expectations of how we were supposed to be. On the other hand, I know from the talkback that other audience members saw that as a "preparing to cross into the United States" section.

That example illustrates how the piece was open to a multiplicity of meanings, that there was no one "right" interpretation of what was going on in the piece. On the whole, I could tell that a lot of thought and exploration had gone into the piece, and it was exciting to recognize aspects of our class discussions in what was going on in the performance.

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