At the Manchester International Festival, Robert Wilson masterpiece of physical theatre was staged. Here is a glimpse of this wonder of modernism and movement, the examination of the life and death of a living artist who was in the play. Two of the most seriously brilliant singing voices added to the complexity. Dafoe’s Master of Ceremonies.
A voice, a really good voice, two violins and a saxaphone with media displays providing a subconscious and playing with space. A stage full of electric candles, screens which housed the shadows of the virtuoso sax and violin players and stories and songs by one of the most original artists of the 1980s delivered over a 90 minute show called “Delusion”.
Laurie Anderson became well known for her take on “the new” – the impact of technology and the esoteric, playing with language, collaborating with William Burroughs and seeming well ahead of the rest of us.
Her pieces now expressed perhaps more immediate concerns of the artist, for example, why she was doing it at all. How the carrots tempt her donkey and how time changes things.
Her voice pronounces every syllable with delightful precision. Her violin rested upon her torso and she played and told stories in a spoken word performance to a full house fully immersed in delusion.
Conscious that the world had overtaken her need for the shock of the new, Laurie Anderson used a Burrough like voice to express commonly held fears about the Large Haldron Collidor – expressing how anyone may feel about such an extraordinary and risky sounding venture could be in a world that essentially does not need it or any of its cousins. Again language. The Adjective was parodied. Was there a Small Haldron Collider. A Fast One, a Quiet one, and so on.
The real story developed around a violin concerto which increased in sadnesss and intensity and then focused on that old foe, death. The death of her mother and turned this story into something profoundly personal. Whereas that may be the common concern – the effects of emotion upon the self – the concern of most singers these days, coming from Laurie Anderson was an entirely different set of concerns about mortality and the last words we hear someone say.
Again Laurie Anderson is playing with language and emotion and the shock of the new. The new being the coming of the end which creeps up upon us all, changing everything. It was profound.
By accessing the common thread with her excellent enunciation she introduced us to the Delusion we live in.
The only criticism was the lighting being off cue, twice.
***** Artistic Rating
**** Production quality