“Concrete” by Robert Ashley
Everyone was there; well, many of the new music troopers, young and old, wouldn’t miss this. The original cast performed: Joan LaBarbara, Tom Buckner, Sam Ashley, Jacqueline Humbert, and the master himself Robert Ashley. And while I have no idea how to write about the music, Seth Colter Walls does and I will include the link to his brilliant assessment below. Each of the performers spoke/sang their individual songs in their own very distinctive style; there was no overlapping of voices as in the past performances I have seen. Every word they said was understandable; good news as Ashley has so much to say. He talks about the everyday -- snippets of life -- in universal terms - such as memory, celebrity, money, religion. He says “Hard to recognize the love of money as it has us in its power.” “It’s important to be near the people you love.” The first set ended with “Fervor and violence is the way all religious practices start.” The staging was wonderful, all in black, white and grey. The square tables where each of the 4 performers sat were white, the chairs black and their shirts grey. Ashley was behind them on a raised stage, sitting very still in profile, dressed in black with silver/white hair. Tom Hamilton’s mixed and live electronic music was beautiful and effective. (Ashley composed). It seemed that each singer/actor was represented by his/her own musical form. It was beautiful without being intrusive. The lighting by David Moodey couldn’t have been better. One of Ashley’s messages was “Plot is always a burden; it gets in the way of writing.” This may be why some don’t really get what Ashley is all about. I somehow do; his work touches me in much the same way as David Markson’s books. I am a great admirer.
Seth's review: http://bit.ly/K3GoVo