Saturday, September 10, 2016

Bridge Over Mud at Brooklyn Academy of Music

FuturePerfect Productions 2016: Verdensteatret's "Bridge Over Mud" Tours New York and Seattle from FuturePerfect on Vimeo.

Bridge Over Mud comes from the collective Verdensteatret. It a weird mash up of an avant garde film mixed with a train set and guy playing a tuba.

I’ll let that sink in.

It really is a weird mishmash of weird imagery- cabs seemingly floating down a street- live video from a train going around a tracks in front of us in a world make up of colored china, lights projected on screens, odd pimages coming from someones subconcious drifting across the screens and some guy sitting to one side playing a tuba and having its weird sounds converted to images.

It’s a one of a kind live experience. Something video (see above for an official abbreviated version) can’t truly duplicate – I mean the sound comes at you from at least 15 loud speakers all around the audience, many set up right in front of the audience so sound drifts around. Plus the the scale of the thing laid out before us is kind of staggering.

The real question is how is it?

Depending on the moment either one of the coolest things you’ve ever seen (the images from the train) to complete and utter pretentious bullshit (the cabs). You swing from never wanting it to end and wanting to find a large wrench and beat the entire collective to death because it's just so gawd awful and dull

Yes it’s one of those.

I found it to be an interesting show because, for one of many reasons, including how the randomness and seeming arbitrary construction resulted in dead silence when it ended- not because it didn’t deserve applause (some of it did) rather because there was no sense of ending the lights remained on and there was still feedback coming from the speakers. We all thought there was more coming…it wasn’t until one of the collective leapt on to the stage applauding that we knew it was done. There are simply no clues how to react or as to when things begin or end its just this ever continuing piece that goes until it just stops at a random moment.

The big problem with the piece is its not a piece, its random pieces. We enter in semidarkness and lights in our eyes, the theater goes dark and we experience weird circles and noises coming at us from a side screen. This gives way to the cab thing (neither motif is ever referenced again) then we have various images from the train set, things happen with the tuba guy, there are hypnotic projections. Yes we see bits kind of repeat- especially with some of the train stuff, but nothing builds, there is no thrust or building of momentum it just happens and then stops. As Hubert  Vigilla, who sat next to mesaid " it's almost like everyone in the collective got to put a piece in randomly whether it fit or not."

Did I like it?

As a once in a life time experience it was cool- but nothing I need to see again.

I understand why Brooklyn Academy of music booked it but at the same time it’s the sort of thing you really want to grab the person responsible and shake them and go "you really are that deranged a art film loving model train enthusiast that you you’re subjecting paying audiences to this." Its a thing I admire in my head but not in my heart

As I said to Hubert when it was over- "Yea, that was a thing that happened"

Not sure you need to see it.

More to the point how could anyone do it more than once and why would anyone want to see it more than once?

It's running a few more times- take a look at the video above and you can decide what you think and if you need to go.

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