I got up in the middle of the night I woke and walked blindly to the bathroom, my bare feet slapping on the cold tiles. Not wanting to blind myself I didn't bother turning on the light. Seated inside I stared at my wife's white bathrobe hanging from a hook on the door. As I looked, half awake, I saw a dark form move in the crevice of the sleeve. A large dark spider slowly crawled out. Part of me wanted to pull the robe from the hook and stomp on it, but I was transfixed, the two or three inch spider was only a foot from my face. As I focused my eyes I saw a strange cylindrical web resembling a CD storage case, which ran up the sleeve. It had a strange consistency like it was made of small compartmentalized soap bubbles. The spider crawled around the outer edge and when it got to the top, the web collapsed in on itself and the spider moved around inside. I began to question what I was seeing, so I finally flipped on the light. The robe flashed a bright white and I had to close my eyes. There was nothing there, no web, no spider. Yet, it had been so real! I turned off the light and as my eyes adjusted to the dark again, I saw movement in the shadows a second time. The spider was even more tentative, but soon it was out again moving swiftly over its diaphanous web. It seemed to know I was watching . I didn't bother switching on the light this time, I simply accepted this strange macabre waking dream. I returned to bed unable to sleep...
At Urban ReThink (625 East Central Boulevard), I crouched on the upper floor looking at the beautiful and grotesque sculptural puppet parts for Macabre Vignettes #3 / Snow. A soft babies head had its eyes sewn shut, a black bird perched menacingly inside a wooden box full of found mechanical objects. Below me Tamara Marke Lars, her husband and a third helper are struggling to hang a large birdlike puppet from a taught fly line. Tamara asks me if the line looks level from where I stand but I am indecisive. The space for now is disorganized, full of the bits and pieces that when assembled, will bring her unique vision to life. She is a master of the macabre and this unique show will most certainly fall outside any of your typical pedestrian Christmas offerings.
Tamara's sister, Leah Marke, was in charge of bringing the six or so Voci dancers up to speed on how they will be staged as they interact with the giant puppets. She was a whirlwind, constantly on the move coaching and inspiring her fellow dancers. She spoke on her cell phone trying to help a dancer that was lost. Her eyelids glittered as she was giving turn by turn directions to the rehearsal. Afterward, she picked up two huge chicken feet and shouted out, "Look here, I gots me some darn big chicken feet." Her affected southern accent caused me to laugh out loud. Turning to me, she finished with, "And you can quote me on that!" One of the dancers kept laughing with childish delight whenever Tamara would move a puppet she was working on. I shared her delight as I struggled to record the creative genius amongst the chaos. Tamara picked up the sickly looking blue child puppet from the rocking chair. In her warm, full arms the limp puppet looked like a frail cold Pieta.
I saw the Voci dancers rehearsing a dance that involved them wrapping themselves in fabric that hung from the ceiling. It took three puppeteers to move the large blue puppet. When they started grunting and playing boisterously the giant began to come alive. This show promises to be a surreal experience and I for one will not miss it.
Admission to Macabre Vignettes #3 is $20 cash at the door, at Urban ReThink which used to be the Urban Think bookstore.
Show times are:
December 10 at 8pm
December 11 at 8pm and 10pm
December 12 at 2pm and 8pm
*Doors open 30 mins prior to curtain