Last weekend, after three months of collaboration, five incredible pairs of artists finally revealed their inspired, inspiring creations for Genre Bender 2016—on the stage, and in the aisles, and the lobby of the Cornish Playhouse. Common themes emerged throughout the evening, including ideas of mortality and spirituality, disaster and darkness, home and human connection. Amid the myriad iterations of music, movement and stirring visuals, the audience was called on to serve as a band member and hand-holder. Huge thanks to all of you fearless arts lovers, who helped make these two evenings so electric—check out more of the wonderfully weird performances below, and click through the slideshow for many more images. See you next year! Photos by Robert Wade.
Actor/musical theatre composer Justin Huertas and clarinetist/composer/musical experimenter Beth Fleenor very literally invited the audience to share their stage, their snacks, their music. Pre-show blended into performance one blended into act of communal creation, as everyone in the house was asked to form a beatbox choir conducted by Fleenor, providing percussion to a song that Huertas performed.
"Hold on Tight!"
Artist/performer/puppeteer Kyle Loven and artist/writer Tessa Hulls took a hilariously bleak—or bleakly hilarious?—swipe at the apocalypse with their game show, Hold on Tight!, led by a high-energy host desperate to keep things running all alone.
"Weapon on My Back"
From the moment a dancer first appeared in darkness at the top of the theatre stairs, Erik Blood and Markeith Wiley's black and white artistic voyage remained stark and emotionally unrelenting. Dancers Danica Bito and Jenna Eady joined Wiley and Blood on stage, performing Wiley's intense, explosive movement backed by a hypnotic, industrial scoundscape by Blood.
Dancer/drag performer Jody Kuehner and actor/clown Keira McDonald brought absurdity and darkness with them as they tumbled down the stairs toward the stage in matching bunny outfits. Bunny suits made way for human musculature as comedy (along with peppy song and dance) made way for tragedy—a slapstick opening setting us up for an emotional gut punch in a monologue from McDonald and dance from Kuehner.
Ritualist Timothy White Eagle and choreographer/durational performer Alice Gosti, joined by Magpie Suddenly, created a new myth; the myth of Teepee Woman. Using a giant sack of cornmeal, White Eagle created a huge medicine wheel on the stage, around which Gosti's moved, swaddled in and straining against the confines of the massive canvas structure, eventually turning toward the upstage curtain, which then rose to reveal an array of levitating tents in a powerful comment on the idea of home.