Friday, July 8, 2011

Review: Self-Taut is HOT

The world of the solo show, it’s a whole ‘nother beast. The other night I took the plunge into a double billing of solo at Dixon Place’s HOT Festival. The HOT Festival, in its 20th Season, showcases the best of Queer performance. My evening featured two drastically different pieces, one by Josh Rowe and the other by Chris Tyler.

First up was Josh Rowe. hard wear soft drive, the multi-media piece, melded with Rowe’s choreography, offered the audience the unique experience of trying to figure out what was more interesting and important to tune into: Rowe or Rowe’s projections on the back screen. The performance art based piece was a battle of identity with Rowe putting on heels and dancing and discovering the blurred line and balance between masculine and feminine. Rowe, a wonderful dancer, moved beautifully in his own world, but it was often difficult to enter his world with him as you often didn’t catch the important parts of the work.

In contrast, the evening ended with one of the best solo pieces I’ve been privileged to witness. Self-Taut, the neat play on words, written and performed by the magnificent Chris Tyler, was Tyler’s stylish retelling of current life was a self-proclaimed “gay slut” contrasted with his life and times at Suffern High. The tale of self-awareness, friendship, love, and the apprehension of intimacy was a monologue filled with emotion and delight. The piece began with Tyler’s live Skype sex gone horribly wrong and ended with the live-written e-mail he wished he sent a former love. Tyler is a brilliant performer; witty and sentimental at the right moments. Not once did he cross the line of self-indulgence. Tyler could stand in a spotlight and read the phone book and it would be a fantastic performance.

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