The night started off with a performance by Mad King Thomas, a group of three women who make “dances and dance-like things.” These ladies played with space and broke rules. At one point, they opened the backdoor to the stage and walked out onto the street. My personal favorite was when one of the dancers used the set as her costume and lip synced to Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good.”
After Mad King Thomas, Nicole M. Smith took the stage and told stories about her sexual awakening. She played clips of TLC music videos, got parts of the audience to sing along and even managed to get a few volunteers to come on stage and “play” with her. Play for Smith has a broad range. Her volunteers danced, nuzzled and even shared a few sensual kisses with her. In watching her performance, the entire room became complicit in Smith’s idea of play.
The show ended with Junauda Petrus’ compilation of video images, music and readings. In her words, she calls “the stories, sayings, fears and triumphs that live in psychic memory and dwells in spirits and give it a home on the visceral landscape of the body.” While on stage, Petrus led the crowd in a shared experience by asking questions that evoked shouts, grunts and laughter. Under her direction, we all got to know each other a little bit better.
Honestly, the whole night was full of community bonding through shared reactions and group involvement. Sometimes I feel alone when sitting in a dark theater, but that wasn’t the case with Pleasure Rebel. The performances brought strangers together -- not an easy task.
Pleasure Rebel’s next show is August 27th, 8pm at the Bryant-Lake Bowl and I’m inviting you to come sit with me. Make sure to purchase your tickets early, because the show has a habit of selling out.