HOW TO VIEW THIS IS NOT A POST OFFICE

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THIS IS NOT A POST OFFICE, an evening of epistolary work by Corina Iona Dalzell and Vanessa DeWolf, features lists of instructions projected on a wall. This review of the work responds in the same format.

How to view THIS IS NOT A POST OFFICE:

  1.     Enter the small gallery space.
  2.     Collect your Neapolitan colored pieces of paper and manila envelope.
  3.     Acknowledge the post office employee uniforms worn by the event hosts.
  4.     Agree to write a letter during the performance.
  5.     Sit down.
  6.     Notice the streamers on the walls, clad with names such as “mom,” “sawyer,” and “person on the bus.”
  7.     Turn your attention to the three dancers.
  8.     Listen to a chorus of “Dear” addressing everything from the Nike sneakers of an audience member, to the exit sign, to the curiously out of place disco ball on the gallery ceiling.
  9.     Appreciate the playful rhythms of the dancers that pair each movement to their spoken address lines.
  10.  Recognize the letters “P.S.” and watch the dancers swap positions, replacing each other’s spots in the current tableau.
  11.  Imagine what this movement statement signifies. Perhaps it is the bravery of the “P.S.” itself, an added confession at the end of correspondence which takes the writer out of their previous perspective.
  12.  Listen to the montage piano music.
  13.  Listen to the silence.
  14.  Listen to the montage piano music.
  15.  Observe the upbeat movement quality, which maintains the structure of a modern movement vocabulary while breaking the often-serious nature of the form.
  16.  Invite the eye contact from the performers.
  17.  Smile back at them.
  18.  Watch them go.
  19.  Read the Ritual of Tears projected on the wall, an instructional list outlining how to love.
  20.  Learn how to love.
  21.  Notice how fabulous Vanessa DeWolf looks in her brand new pink metallic unitard.
  22.  Hold Vanessa DeWolf’s glasses.
  23.  Watch her try to cry.
  24.  Listen to her assure you that it’s getting there.
  25.  Empathize with the difficulty of on demand crying.
  26.  Recognize that she is performing a parody of the artificial sadness we so often see in emotional art.
  27.  Let her do a really quick sad dance.
  28.  Listen to her tell you that she doesn’t want to find the lost world of Atlantis, because she thinks we’ll just make a mess of it.
  29.  Agree.
  30.  Watch her cry.
  31.  Watch her tears wiped away with a fur rug.
  32.  Read the new projected instructions, entitled How to love: I’m sorry I’m so mad.
  33.  Learn to love again.
  34.  Notice DeWolf stamp across the floor.
  35.  Wait for her to ask you if this looks like a dance of anger.
  36.  Wonder what a dance of anger looks like.
  37.  Agree with her that this is not a dance of anger.
  38.  Watch her demonstrate a different dance of anger. A quiet one that sizzles below the surface. One that might look like someone sitting in a chair. One that is less dramatic, but somehow even more visible.
  39.  Mutter a personal apology when asked to do so.
  40.  Draw a shape.
  41.  Write your apology in the middle of the shape.
  42.  Notice the return of the three dancers as they transition across the space in a similar format to earlier.
  43.  Await the pauses in their movement, often accompanied by an inversion or precarious balance.
  44.  Listen as they re-contextualize what each other says.
  45.  Read a love letter to a refrigerator.
  46.  Lose sight of what the original letter said as it is rewritten over and over again, always changing subject.
  47.  Read a love letter to a bottle of wine.
  48.  Watch the dancers embody snowflakes and hold clothespins on their fingers.
  49.  Reach into the bag below your seat.
  50.  Pull out three soft things.
  51.  Free write.
  52.  Change your perspective in the room.
  53.  Notice how different it feels not to occupy your original seat as you watch DeWolf humbly dance on her back with her eyes closed.
  54.  Listen as she reads you instructions on where to find love including “How to make disappearing ink reappear,” “How to make a scar disappear,” and “How to make your own glue.”
  55.  Find love.
  56.  Delight in the final moments while performers throw glow-in-the-dark stars into the middle of the room.
  57.  Address the envelope to yourself.
  58.  Wait 2-4 weeks for your love letter.

THIS IS NOT A POST OFFICE played December 15 and 16, 2018 at Gallery 1412.

 

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