Object Collection Opera at La Mama
Kara Feely and Travis Just Give Us Space Control
By: Susan Hall - Jan 27, 2020
You are Under Our Space Control
Written & Directed by Kara Feely
Composed by Travis Just
New York, NY
January 23 – February 2, 2020
Programming by Scott Cazan
Set Design by Peiyi WONG
Lighting Design by Jeanette Yew
Video by Eric Magnus
Costume Design by Karen Boyer
Performed by Steven Ali, Avi Glickstein, Yuki Kawahisa, Catrin Lloyd-Bollard, Alessandro Magania, Daniel Allen Nelson, Nicolas Norena, Fulya Peker
Musicians: Shayna Dunkleman, Taylor Levine, Ava Mendoza
‘You Are Under Our Space Control’ is a utopian space-opera, a signal sent out to tremble and refract in an empty universe, a light focused on a radical future.
The Downstairs stage at La Mama is darkened. People bustle around, cleaning equipment, moving it about, casting lights and cameras on it. We the audience are not quite sure whether or not the performance has begun. In fact, the minute we walk into the theater, we are in the drama.
It is the intention of Object Collection, the producers and creators, to keep the audience at high alert. Daniel takes a seat on the cosmic throne, a cross between dental chair and space rocket. The quotidian and the other worldly will be liberally mixed in music and action for the next hour.
Investing in space travel and astronauts, Kara Feely re-envisions everyday life in the future. Familiar interfaces with clothing and pieces of paper that look like magnetic poetry to be moved at random seem strange and awkward. Travis Just's speech-song vocal parts are eerily lofted. Surprisingly glistening instrumentals are formed from flexing 808s, tinny objects, and a robot guitar.
John Cage's 1951 piano solo ‘Music Of Change’ hovers in the background. Cy Roth's sci-fi weirdity ‘Fire Maidens From Outer Space’ (1951) also inspires. Sun Ra and the cosmology of Russian poetics and philosophies are only a small part of the action. Interviews from real (and imagined) space travelers and astronomers are intermittently introduced.
The cast has an immediate and searing physicality. Allessandro Magnia uses gesture to attract and disorient at once. Avi Glickstein uses his voice in expected and unexpected variety. Costumes made from reflecting tinfoil feel texturally like the music. They take us deep into a futuristic whirlwind. We wonder.