Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sea Shaman

Conceptual performance art is, by its very nature, a bit bizarre. Those who practice it demand unique, distinct, and frequently weird sounds to compliment the equally strange goings on that occur on stage. The emphasis is not on competence or even on talent, instead the desired backing music should be obnoxious, dissonant, and grating. There is no shortage of so-called musicians eager to fill this peculiar need.

Sea Shaman certainly is up to the challenge. A five minute section in which the actors are writhing about on the floor as though inflicted with a kind of extreme motion sickness is punctuated by the sound produced when jingling car keys are scraped across cello strings. Another lengthy section of the performance which requires the cast to cluck like a chicken in sequence is backed by the amplified sound of a pair of scissors cutting through cheap canvass. The jarringly unnerving result of this effect in tandem with what's happening on stage could not be any more incongruous.

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