Tero Saarinen Company at the Joyce Theater.
One of the more polarizing and abstract performances I’ve seen. As I sat in the 7th row of the theater, I counted at least 5 audience members in front of me who (in the middle of the show) stood up and walked out.
At least to me, the abstractness wasn’t the issue. I didn’t particularly enjoy the execution, but I was mostly bothered by the content.
Tero Saarinen explained at the curtain chat that “Morphed” as performed by 7 male dancers is about masculinity. More specifically, in his own words, there are “too many numb angry men in the world.” He wants to show that men can have sensuality and sensitivity, that these “weakness” can actually make men stronger, even though it’s often hard for men to be fragile. A sizable group stayed for the post-performance talkback, and were enthusiastic about the discussion.
However, here’s my main objection to the show. I’m so sick and tired of even hearing about these “male roles” perpetuated by a patriarchal society.
Alexandra Petri wrote in her opinion piece in the Washington Post yesterday, in response to the Harvey Weinstein sexual assaults: “I am sick of having to suffer so a man can grow. … I am not the one who should be ashamed that you [Harvey Weinstein and the likes] have done these things. I am not here to make you see the error of your ways. I am here to get through my life every day without inhaling thick lungfuls of smoke.”
Coincidentally, tonight’s performance was momentarily interrupted and delayed because of a medical emergency when a man had a seizure. During the curtain chat, an audience member near the man recalled the incident and described him as “the stereotypical New Yorker on a date, aggressive, and possibly intoxicated.” The wording including “stereotypical” was hers, not mine. The adjectives associated with the stereotypical men on a date in New York were interesting to note, if not upsetting.
Despite being unconscious when the house lights first came on, and then slumping into his seats twice, the man was still disobeying the Joyce Theatre (female) staff’s directions — while she was on the call with 911, relaying messages from operator, trying to save his life). When the NYFD arrived a few minutes later, he had regained some strength, and decided to push his way past the first respondents, leaving the medical personnels stunned — standing alone in the middle of the theater with their stretcher and first aid kits on their hands. Well done, sir! What a great display of your masculinity! What a waste of 15 minutes of 400+ people’s time, critical medical resources, and care from the Joyce Theater staff.
I’m sorry that I stayed for the whole show. Should not have wasted 90 minutes for these “men” to grow up and be a useful member of the society.