Macbeth. Spike Lee. Denzel Washington. Fatslug. Tan Dun. Janice & Camus.
Do I have your attention? Danke.
Blog intro first. Spike-Mac-Denzel-Slug-Dun-Camus coming.
PRESENTING THE DRESSER: DRUM ROLL ANYONE?
Karren Alenier is a poet. Poets don’t walk down the street the same way as other folks. Ideas, memories, accidents on the roadway, a clan of walkers with ski poles on a warm day, a spotted dog named Sparkle and more cause poets to zigzag literally and metaphorically. Although you might think you know Karren Alenier — She is The Steiny Road Poet — that’s just one cubist view. Here at The Dressing she will be known as the Dresser or, maybe, the unDresser.
Good Grief, as Charlie the kite-flying roundhead, would swear, whatever does The Dressing and Dresser mean? As the Dresser, I say The Dressing means as much as possible!
IS THE DRESSING EXTRA?
A medicinal or protective gauze to cover a wound. Something that takes the ug out of an ugly break in the skin.
A viscous mix for certain dishes, such as salads. Think virgin olive oil & fragrant lemon for example.
A stuffing for poultry or fish. Anything from bread to fruits & veggies. Maybe a dash of nuts.
Manure or other fertilizing ingredients for soil. Night soil – Borat’s gift to his unsuspecting southern hostess.
That activity that covers human nakedness.
Then there is dressing for success, cross-dressing, dressing up, dressing down, dressed to the nines. What about window-dressing and well dressing? Just scratching the surface. I’m sure someone will point out what hasn’t been said yet and I welcome any additions. (Well, not all additions. I’m not Miss Manners and I don’t tolerate fools who bring Boratian surprises.)
DOES THE DRESSER HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR?
Maybe the better question to ask first is does the Dresser have a sense of order or will this be a descent into the Second Law of Thermodynamics? Here we go:
The Dresser wants to talk about Macbeth first. What’s really hot in theater today are actors breaching the fourth wall. (That’s the invisible wall between the actors and the audience.) The Dresser took her friend Myong-Hee Kim, the translator of Crow's Eye View: The Infamy Of Lee Sang, Korean Poet, to experience 500 Clown Macbeth at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at Maryland. The Dresser thinks she was assigned the role as the 499th clown and Myong-Hee, who is much more shy, was the 500th. Both of us spend a lot of time reading poetry so we didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into. This was physical theater deconstructing not only Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth but also deconstructing the stage and the concepts of theater. Clowns Bruce and Shank are strongmen. Why, one of the clowns bussed my cheek. Did he wish to influence the critic on the aisle with a kiss?
Quick précis – (for a complete review of 500 Clown Macbeth, visit the theater section of culturevulture.net) three men with red ears and wearing kilts across their shoulders (who dressed these performers? Oh, they are clowns.) climb into the audience from the back of the house and make their way over the heath. Each of them wants to be king. Each of them tries to reach a crown hanging from the ceiling. They use a wobbly scaffold. Yes, this is a story of ambition. The three characters are named Kevin, Bruce, and Shank. Kevin is played by Molly Brennan. Molly as Kevin is a gender-bender and part of her clown dressing is a pink tutu. Being a woman has nothing to do with the role of Kevin, or does it? Kevin plays Lady Macbeth. Kevin delivers the out-damn-spot soliloquy and darned if the light doesn’t go out every time Kevin says spot.
Photo By: Adam Friedland
In a talkback session, the Dresser got to peer under the theatrical gauze covering all the wounds in this work. The actors are trained to fall—Bruce falls from the top of the scaffold through two trap doors and under the stage, maybe 12 feet down. Bruce (Adrian Danzig), however, showed the talkback audience a big bruise he got during this performance and said it was no big deal. “Things like this happen all the time when people play sports” says Adrian and the troupe equates their style of theater to sports. Nevertheless, the actors are trained not to hurt each other—they know not to pull hair or put weight on anyone’s neck. They know how to take weight. So when Kevin (Molly) rides his imaginary motorcycle Evil-Knievel-style over Shank who is holding up a board at a slant, Shank (Paul Kalina) is not crushed and does not suffer injury. They learned some of this in clown school.