Friday, January 31, 2014

"Out There" with Clement Layes

Never ask "why?" at the Walker. 

Photo Credit: The Walker
As an avid devotee of their "Out There" series, I have learned that it is best to lay all pre-conceived notions of the structure or content of a show at the door, instead leaving my mind open as a blank slate to whatever it is I'm about to see. 

And it's a good thing I did when watching Clement Layes in his one man show Public in Private. With 35 of the 45 minute show performed in total silence as Layes inexplicably paced the stage with a water glass on his head, continually dumping water into and out of buckets, bottles, and jars, wiping a chalkbboard, soaking up puddles, and rearranging a table nad a samll plastic tree, there was little else to go upon. 

Essentially a living infographic, Public in Private can be virtually summed up in Layes' brief monologue at the end of the show, which finished with these words:
"I work, I sleep, I dance, I'm dead."

Public In Private is really a series of symbolic, metaphorical equations which use time, attention, mechanics, technology, and life - among other things - to explain virtually any natural phenomena or experience. It would help the audience immensely to have an infographic or pictorial definition of the meaning of each prop, but as it stands, is still a totally new way to convey a political message, merging spoken word, lighting, sound, movement and novelty into an engaging sequence. 

A delightful experiment in terms of theatrical possibility, "Out There" is required viewing for avid theater goers, introducing them to new and endless ways live theater can be portrayed and stories can be told. "Out There" is currently performing its final show; for more information, click on this link.