-an installation-performance the likes of which you've never experienced-
Replete with techno, waltz, lullabies and superheroes, thin skin is an exploration of the layers we put on and take off over the course of a lifetime - in our daily choices, our relationships, even in the creative process itself. What do we allow to be seen? Is it only our polished selves, the finished pieces? Or can others come along with us in our unmapped journey(s)?
Through a different-every-time intimate showing designed for a small audience, viewers are invited into the studio to experience the raw process of choreography & scenography, a dialogue with and between two artists, and a personal unveiling of our softest selves.
Venue: Studio 114 (not wheelchair accessible)
Date: Jan 12 - 14
Time: 730pm & 9pm
Warnings: Adults only
More info: body portal theatre
body portal theatre
platform for movement | meeting pt for creative change + exchange | choreography, collaboration, community
SheenRu is a dancer, choreographer, and the initiator of body portal theatre. She began dancing at Wesleyan University and then trained in New York City and Taipei, where she was commissioned and inspired to choreograph evening-length shows, site-specific works, and community-based performances, most recently under the auspices of the LuoManFei Dance Fund and the Taiwan Ministry of Culture. While earning her MFA in Choreography at the Taipei National University of the Arts, she toured internationally with Legend Lin Dance Theatre. Through the platform body portal theatre, she continues to research and develop the creative potentials of the individual, collective, and environmental bodies we inhabit.
E. Spencer Agoston
Spencer is a scenographer and dancer focused on sculpting space through form, light and the human body. Specializing in bringing contemporary art forms, design technique to dance and theatre. Having graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art with degrees in Environmental Design, Fine Art, history of material culture, Spencer spent the following years producing large scale architectural and sculptural installations around the world for artists such as Lee Jae Hyo, and Lee Yong Baek (2011 Korean Pavilion Venice biennial). In the recent years his interest has shifted to film production and theatrical arts, leading him to perform with and produce set pieces and stage design for Iona Contemporary Dance Theatre and Daydreams and Nightmares Aerial theatre.
Fringe 5 Questions
THIN SKIN & the topography of time - SheenRu Yong / body portal theatre & Spencer Agoston
Fringe 5 Questions by Carlynn Wolfe
Who do you perform for?
Spencer: I perform for my partners, to make the hours of sweat and play, of clashing and collaborating worth it. I perform to step outside of myself and beyond myself. I perform for the audience whose eyes and minds I cannot know and whose opinions will vary wildly. I perform because I’m driven to.
SheenRu: When I toured with Legend Lin Dance Theatre, we considered it a true success when we had NOT been seen or noticed on stage. Rather the point was to become transparent, to create an opening for the audience to see themselves.
What do you hope to accomplish with this piece?
Spencer: I aim to capture a person's senses. The work as a whole is designed to pull at your sense of self, to take you on a journey far beyond yourself, then snap your awareness back into your own body, waking you up to your own skin.
SheenRu: I recently heard someone say that an audience goes to performances to be listened to. I love that description. And I think THIN SKIN is an experiment in that vein. Although this piece is a personal narrative of sorts, it’s not because I care that people get to know SheenRu (definitely not! that’s actually quite a challenge for me because I’m a very private person). The point is to create an environment that people can enter and be transported into their own story, to feel their own experiences are heard, seen and shared. There's some research about live theater making school children more empathetic and I think it's true; whatever happens live in performance is something we create and share together in a unique moment of resonance and that experience can't be replaced by youtube or snapchat.
In some ways, THIN SKIN is also a response to people often being hesitant about watching performance or thinking they don’t understand anything about art. In this piece, you get to see what goes on behind the scenes, in the studio, in the creative process. It’s intense, it’s hilarious, it happens this way only once, it’s real life. And we are personally inviting you in.
Where is the center of the Universe?
Spencer: Empirically, the center of the Universe is further away than the mind can comprehend, but then it is something that we can all feel. It is in the fleeting moment in which our focus narrows down to the point that the world disappears around us, our sense of self collapses, and we cease to be. In that moment all that exists is the art you're making, the song you're singing, the touch of your love, the feel of the dance, the sound of your breath. When YOU cease to be, that is the center of the universe, ephemeral and just as hard to comprehend in its very nature.
SheenRu: In the particular lies the universal, or however that quote goes. But really, that is my experience. And maybe we should really be asking about the multiverse. I mean, what do we know? ;)
When did THIN SKIN start?
Spencer: THIN SKIN started nearly a year ago, as an idea to create a traveling piece that would hold the beach to SheenRu. The first prototype of the bag/costume quickly took on a life of it own, becoming this instrument that demanded us to play. I think SheenRu can add much more to this.
SheenRu: Every creative work has a non-linear life of its own. The title and subject matter was sparked 7 years ago with a poem I wrote after the passing of my grandmother. This particular incarnation started when I was making a solo to take to a festival in France with the Spinning Goats collective in early 2016. We were exploring the idea of nudity, layers and surfaces. After Spencer and I experimented a bit, we created this transparent plastic installation-contraption (that could collapse into a small bag, aka I could get it to France!) and that could morph into endless configurations; THIN SKIN was born. It’s just a small child at this point though. I consider this its 2nd incarnation and we are still constantly experimenting, distilling.
Why does art happen?
Spencer: Art happens because we need it to.
SheenRu: What he said. Nature is by necessity creative and we are all, by nature, creative.
Bonus – How do you feel about 2017?
Spencer: Ready for the work and focus it will bring.
SheenRu: No idea!