Issue 3 Live Performance Reports

Anyone who has followed the career of (Stephen Lawson and Aaron Pollard) over the course of the past decade or so will not be surprised that their most recent show, a song cycle called Tightrope, blends an ambitious range of genres in a feature-length performance. It’s an avant-garde cabaret, it’s a variety of text-based forms including spoken word, a cappella and instrumental compositions that make up the song cycle; along with the heightened spectacle of public and performative mourning, site-specific installation, cosmonautology, audience intervention / participation; as well as intermedial components, including silhouette performance, projection art, costume drama, strip tease, radical drag, and the daring combination of professional and amateur talent. In less fabulously capable hands, this blend of so many technologies of “show” might produce one big mess, but in the hands of Lawson, Pollard and their collaborators, Tightrope walks the tense line between chaos and order, giving a performance that left me breathless, thrown and then re-collected, enchanted and deeply moved.