Two interesting shows are coming up this weekend, that I’d just put out on alert in Baltimore. They’re both mind and genre-bending. And they’re free.
First at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). Choreographer Rachel Cohen is leading Racoco/Rx Dance company in Would/A Body. I’ll leave it to the press release to describe what exactly it involves:
“In Tilt (excerpt; this will be the first public performance), performers interact with a wooden environment in an exploration of delusion, in a narrative loosely based on Don Quixote. Performers build, dismantle, and reconfigure the set and props around themselves in a physical manifestation of the emotional and psychological structures we build, tear down, and re-create around ourselves.”
Thrown (2006) is a deconstructed creation myth, a tactile excavation of the human body and its relation to the earth through the medium of clay. In a performance that is part museum diorama, part excavation, and part ritual, dancers and clay artists mine the physical and metaphysical connections between earth and the body through movement, sculpture, music, and the interaction of these three art forms.
Then, at the Theatre Project, from Wednesday to Sunday, Baltimore-based Russian director Yuri Urnov is providing another production of the highly praised One Hour Eighteen Minutes, which uses court transcripts and interviews to narrate the case of Sergei Magnitsky, the Russian lawyer who, after exposing tax fraud, was imprisoned without trial in Moscow’s Butyrka Prison. For an American, the name may not be immediately recognizable, but it should be. Magntisky has become a cause célèbre among the increasingly visible opposition to Putin’s United Russia Party.
The production has, of this moment, been shown at two unlikely venues: the Senate Office Buildings of the U.S. Capitol, and the Kennan Institute. Now, for the first time, Baltimore is going to get a serious, five day run for the general public. It’s topical. Recent developments have shown us that even though Putin’s likely to make it through the next election, the era of a monolithic United Russia party is over. This is one of the reasons why.
Anyway, the production at the Theatre Project is also free of charge, but that’s not why you need to see it. If you think that the marriage of politics and theatre is an anachronism, this may change your mind.
So, if you want to take advantage of Charm City, it could be an interesting (and inexpensive) weekend.