Thursday, May 24, 2012

How many grilled cheese sandwiches does it take to screw in a light bulb?

I don’t know, but I sure hope there’s lots of cheese and that it’s melted right through.
All through the hour-long installation, The Hunger, I kept thinking about grilled cheese sandwiches and Bendadryl. I had broken out in hives a few hours earlier and my right knee and elbow were quite itchy. In any other show this might suggest that I was so distracted by a craving for a toasty cheddar sandwich, and so irritated by my overbearing seasonal allergies, that I wasn’t able to pay attention to the performance. On the contrary, a multitude of slices of white bread used as screens arranged to display a plethora of projected ads (spinning consumerist fare, providing a dizzying visual feast, and arranged in a kaleidoscopic array) drew me into a tasty world of propaganda ranging from McDonalds to drive-in movie food, runway models, the brutal violence inherent to the animal kingdom, and haunting silhouettes of live bird-like dancers behind a large screen.

Before the dance segment began audience members wandered through a maze constructed by slices of bread hanging in plastic sheets with small video treats and intricate, ambient sound units throughout. Needless to say, the hunger began at the outset and surrounded spectating inhabitants all the way through.

The Hunger explores mass consumption. Margaret Krawecka works on a model of The Hunger, a performance-installation that explores consumption that will be presented at Pia Bouman School for Ballet and Creative Movement from May 24 to 27. A protion of ticket sales will benefit the West End Food Co-op. Staff photo/ERIN HATFIELD

By the end of the piece my itches had become part and parcel of a virtual tour of immersive sensory perception and my hunger was satiated by the opening night snacks and the delicious vegan gingerbread cookies paased out by the predatory, confrontational, dancing birds during the show. A surreal experience indeed, with a beautiful projected ending that brings the Hansel and Gretel connection full circle and encourages audience members to question a world saturated by tasty packages that draw us in to rather dark, seductive surroundings that may not be what they seem. 

not to be missed, and running until May 27th 
at 6 Noble Street

for directions and ticket info go to

And the Benadryl? I bought some on my way home. The itch is gone but the hunger remains.

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