Fractured: Just the Fracts, Ma’am

Premiered March 7-10, 1996 at Dance Theater Workshop, NYC
Performers: Jennifer Monson, Ishmael Houston-Jones, Scott Heron, Audrey Kindred, Anne Iobst, Jennifer Miller

 

 

Performer: Jennifer Monson<br>Photo: Dona Ann McAdams Performers: Jennifer Miller, Cathy Weis<br>Photo: Dona Ann McAdams Performer: Jennifer Miller<br>Photo: Dona Ann McAdams Performer: Anne Iobst<br>Photo: Dona Ann McAdams Performers: Scott Heron, Anne Iobst, Audrey Kindred  </br>Photo: Dona Ann McAdams

Fractured, Just The Fracts Ma’am is an evening length work in two acts, combining new technical set ups with the tried-and-true.

Following Weis’ Politicians pre-show event, Act I opens with the first of three solos: Face to Face, danced by Jennifer Monson, opens the evening.

The second solo blurs locations and one dancer’s past and present. Some months earlier, Weis recorded Ishmael Houston-Jones moving amongst grazing cattle in the Vermont countryside. Houston-Jones enters the performance space and begins to dance with this other version of himself from another time and place. A live camera combines past and present dancers in a single image. As the solo concludes, the live images recede and the performer exits the stage, leaving behind only his past self, reclining in a rushing creek.

In the final solo, Scott Heron dons a shark-shaped hat and peers curiously into a fishbowl. He suddenly finds himself pulled in. Weis manipulates perspective to comedic effect as a camera positioned above the stage looks down on Heron who “swims” on the floor. His image slowly transforms, becoming the shark on his hat. A mermaid swims through the image and is devoured.

Act II consists of three trios. In the first, Weis’ disembodied head plays on a tv affixed to a bike ridden by Jennifer Miller. The Head begins to work herself into a rage, finally exploding, rebounding through the blackened stage on a bungee cord. Anne Iobst enters in silence, dodging The Head bouncing through the air. Bobbing and weaving, Iobst finally boxes it into submission.

In the second trio, Weis enters dressed as a cowboy. Miller, dressed as a cowgirl, joins her. Between them stands The Outsider, a composite video image made of Weis’ upper body and Miller’s lower body. The three figures dance to Ennio Morricone’s soundtrack from Once Upon a Time in the West, the 1968 Spaghetti Western. The competition between Cowboy, Cowgirl and Outsider comes to a head in a duel at high noon.

The third trio, Doctor, Doctor is a vaudevillian comedy act featuring Miller as The Doctor, Weis as The Patient and Iobst as The Nurse. Like all good vaudevillian comedy acts, this one brings down the house.

 

Performance history:

Movement Research at the Judson Church, NYC (1995)
Dance Theater Workshop, NYC (1996 – premiere)
The Painted Bride, Pennsylvania, PA (1999 – excerpt)