The Event follows the human spirit on its search for meaning within absurdity, as the soul is urged to purge what weighs it down.
Premiered October 19–22, 2017, Base, Seattle, WA
Choreography: Peggy Piacenza
Performers: Ezra Dickinson, Kim Lusk, Wade Madsen, Amelia Reeber, and Peggy Piacenza
Set Design: Julia Welch
Original Music: Paurl Walsh
Lighting Design: Amiya Brown
Costume Design: Dani Blackwell
Video: Leo Mayberry
“We’re born, we live, we die.”
It’s a cliché and a profound truth. But does it really cover everything? In Peggy Piacenza’s new evening-length dance piece, The Event, how we fill the space between birth and death is the jumping-off point for a look at what’s beyond those ultimate markers of existence: the subconscious, timeless spaces between death and rebirth that sometimes seem to hover over our lives.
Probing our experience of time and timelessness, The Event considers elements of the human condition: humor, fantasy, mortality and sorrow explored within a hybrid of dance, theater, text, and film. The Event is a collection of visual and thematic contrasts: meditation and pain, beauty and suffering, ethereality and showiness, stillness and motion all work in dynamic counterbalance. Within a surreal set swirling with pink cotton candy, athletic dancing makes an emphatically human stamp. Quoting Lars Von Trier’s film, Antichrist, anxiety disrupts reflection as a performer insists, “Can’t you hold me? I feel rotten!” Later, Piacenza studies hidden contradictions in the simple, repeated phrase, “I’m just standing here.” The piece casts light on the human struggle for meaning in absurdity and the urge of the soul to purge what weighs it down.
Piacenza is a lifelong movement practitioner, a veteran dance artist who uses the body to ask questions about the human experience. As she passes her 50-year mark, a heightened sense of her own mortality informs her work as a choreographer, turning a unique lens on what happens both within and beyond the brackets of a human life. In The Event, Piacenza poses questions about what we’re doing here: Do we want to be the best we can at what we do? Do we want to be seen? Do we just want to be?
For the somatic explorer, dance is a way to understand being. For the professional, dance is the rigorous practice of one’s craft. For the performer, dance is a way to rivet an audience’s attention. In The Event, dance is all of the above: a phenomenological tool to probe our experience of time and timelessness, a full-bodied expression of a contemporary art form, and the means to a jubilant, human-scale spectacle in celebration of life.