A man and a woman kiss. They drown each other in flattery. They tell each other that they’re “the one.” They say no one understands. This may sound like the purplest of purple prose scenarios. (And it is.) But it’s actually a live performance that employs the transcript of a Sarah Palin interview by Glenn Beck as its script. Instead of Beck and Palin in the lead roles, however, it’s a couple of young lovers. The words may be the same, but the actions aren’t. It’s grody-fascinating to watch.
For the performance piece, I Feel Your Pain, Liz Magic Laser created more than a dozen theatrical shorts out of television news transcripts (staged as part of the Performa festival last year). Steve Kroft’s 60 Minutes interview with Barack Obama in the wake of the Osama Bin Laden assassination becomes a clubby conversation between two bros sipping soda. It was literally nauseating to watch. Not because the actors were bad. Quite the contrary. The performances are all strong (and Annie Fox, shown above, is particularly riveting to watch). It’s all just a reminder of the uncomfortably cozy relationship between politicians and some members of the media.
For a few pieces, like the ones mentioned above, Laser employs a single interview as script. For others, she weaves together similar language from several Q&As into one cohesive story. Interviews and speeches by Mary Landrieu, Christine O’Donnell and George W. Bush are spliced together into a single work that addresses culpability. It is a riveting work of political theater. Literally. (Though I could have done without the mime-clown character — I mean, why???? — that Laser introduces in a few of the pieces.)
You can catch video of the project at the Derek Eller Gallery through this Saturday, April 21. If you’re a political or media junkie, this represents an intriguing, outrage-inducing intersection. Find the screening times here. And yes, it’s worth it to sit through them all…