Thursday, September 17, 2015

Review: Secession Success

We have become fascinated with behind the scenes stories. The untold tales of the people and inspiration behind the masterpieces. In Exquisite Corpse's immersive site specific Secession 2015, a living gallery is brought to life on Governor's Island.
Inspired by the Vienna Seccesion of 1897, Secession 2015 combines six writers as they showcase the lives of Vienna's finest. Weaving through the rooms of a house on Governor's Island, plays come to life as themes of artistic creation and self-destruction are played out in front of the audiences' eyes. The event brought a mixed bag of styles and quality. From plays showcasing the interactions between artist and object, their personal muses, and the artistic prison, Secession 2015 captured the soul of the artist in all of us. Some of the strongest pieces included the whimsically relevant “The Kiss” by Laura Rose Zlatos, the dark world of “Letters to Wally” by Simon de Carvalho, and the raw “Breaking Things Feels Good” by Blake Bishton. Flawlessly curated by Tess Howsam, the living museum feel of the event was smooth, transitioning through the house and into the various worlds devised by the individual playwrights. The ensemble of seven did a wonderful job inviting the audience on the journey through art. Some of the strongest players included the spry Blaire O’Leary, the dry Max Schloner, and the mystifying Anya Krawchek.
Layout was incredibly important to the storytelling of this world. Each room was strategically unique, placing the audience in various formations, occasionally forcing the entirety to remain standing. From seating arrangements, to site lines, to the art on the walls, these subtle experiences in each room aided in the atmosphere of the piece. Lighting designer Sara Gosses made magic in this little house. Gosses found unique and stunning visual looks that made these plays come to life.
Secession 2015 is an experience. It’s something that you need to walk through to fully grasp. Exquisite Corpse Company has succeeded in the fact that when you leave, you yearn to learn more about the Vienna Secession. And that’s a sign of success.