Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Art (and music) of John Moran…and his neighbor, Saori.

What was it like that first week with Adam and Eve? Was the world quiet and serene with no tasks but the naming of animals? Were the sunrises slow and majestic? In many respects I feel the First year of the Days and Nights Festival has that same atmosphere - the world just unfolding with possibilities.
This afternoon's performance of John Moran…and his neighbor, Saori was a theater piece thoroughly composed. Taking elements from several of John's operas', The Manson Family and The Book of the Dead, interspersed with a piece entitled "John's Opening" you get a glimpse at his style --crafted theater set to a tempo like a composition, but far more encompassing than any musical piece could convey. There are bits of dialog to the audience which at first seem disjointed and out of place, even to the point of making the audience uncomfortable. However, these bits eventually come around again, like a theme in a piece of music, to where we begin to understand the dialog is staged, the repetition a form of understand how parts of life seem to play over and over again.
Saori Tsukada is an actress, dancer, mime... force of nature. As each of John's pieces unfold there is no explanation as to what any of Saori's movements or recorded dialog mean. However, in a scene from The Book of the Dead, Saori portrays a worker in a McDonald's restaurant, floating through life dead. Yet, she then plays another co-worker where we catch glimpses of the other part of the dialog, still as lifeless in her existence - yet, Saori's performance is riveting, electric. Eventually we are treated to Saori replaying the scene as both characters adding nothing to the depth of their life existence and yet, reflecting on our own existence and its repetitive nature.
The final scene has John playing a record of him playing a Bach piece, except it's not a recording, but a recording that sounds like a record complete with all the sound effects of him opening the player, placing the needle and the scratches on the album. This moves into a scene with Saori playing a role as part herself and part someone else, over and over and yet the music continues. Add another layer of John playing a song on an electric guitar and singing in the background. Suddenly the Bach becomes a backing track, with John's song the emotional thrust to what Saori is performing. Each time she goes through the movements we feel as if John is perhaps responding to her action organically. Yet, they are so well timed, and occasionally repetitive we realize we're listening, watching, experience a piece of music, of theater unfold for us.
John Moran…and his neighbor, Saori. will be performed again on on Sunday, 2:30 out at the Hidden Valley Music Center in Carmel Valley. A continuation of this story will take place on Tuesday. Come, experience music and theater unfold as an examination of the disjointed nature of life and yet so well crafted it's impossible to walk away without being immersed into John and Saori's world.

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