There was a mad rush to get things finished opening night of Macabre Vignettes #3 Snow. There was the enraged search for an electrical chord which involved throwing things out of the way and then a mad flash of black Duck taping the wiring down. Audio equipment was being moved from downstairs to the balcony in the final moments. Seth Kubersky announced, "5 minutes to open house!" A few dancers who were still dressing and applying make up said, "Thank you 5." That didn't leave me with much time to finish my sketch. Below they were working on a dance routine that involved interacting with a large raven. The dancer held two lines that manipulated the birds sharp talons. As they rehearsed, Genevieve Bernard walked quickly by getting ensnared in the near invisible lines. "My bad." she said. There was no harm done. It seemed like there were too many loose ends for the show to open on time. Leah called for a 5 minute extension. The pulse in the room quickened. Finally Seth shouted out, "House 0pen!" People started to drift in. I had a few more watercolor washes to add and I slapped them down. Showtime!
I walked down the web encrusted staircase and ordered a Blue Moon at the bar. Then I put the sketchpad away and relaxed on a green couch . The show had already started with dancers wandering among the audience marveling at the environment. Bloggers Jana Waring and Mark Baratelli wandered in. The dancers were in their own world never interacting with audience members. Once a dancer held a hand out towards a man walking by. He hadn't noticed her and her longing gesture lingered. When the dancers moved among the ravens, one of the control wires got all tangled in a knot among the talons. The bird hung limply just a few feet in front of me. Finally I couldn't resist, I stepped forward and untangled the poor bird and then held the control line. A dancer leaped toward me and took the line smiling. However the bird had spun so many times that he couldn't be raised any higher. The dancer valiantly held the line but the bird would only loose altitude never going back up. It finally fell to the floor and was brushed aside by Leah. I admired the dancers for adjusting to such technical problems without missing a beat.
Over time the dancing was no longer enough to hold me. I needed some thread of story to keep me engaged. I never became involved enough to suspend my disbelief. Staging the large puppets was a problem since they were best viewed from the front. They would spend agonizing moments with their backs to the audience. I walked around the room incessantly, changing my point of view. Most of the audience however remained stationary unable to see the action or gesture of the puppets. Tamara Marke-Lars stated that the large creations were sculpture first and puppets second. She pushed the boundary between puppetry and art. Sometimes for me, art isn't enough if it doesn't support a solid story.