nytheatre.com review by Alec G. Miller
July 10, 2007
On a hot and humid day in July the Siberian performance troupe System of Units paired with TRYST, a New York City based trio, to kick off a week of day-long performances in the heart of the Financial District. Watching the performers physically exert themselves under the midday sun really made me feel for them, as I sat watching from a bench in the shade.
Having the performance outside gives Security Zone an obvious street performance quality. However it is original enough to be unlike a lot of what I have seen in the streets of New York. And I enjoyed it because of its uniqueness.
Each complete performance is six hours long, with several different standalone pieces within that timeframe. This type of an extended full-day showcase allows viewers and passerby to watch the performance at their own leisure and come and go as they please. And in the spirit of that I chose to stay and watch only the first two hours of the performance.
The first piece of the set started with four of the ensemble members in orange jumpsuits strolling through the crowd, followed by the final member wearing a white jumpsuit. The performers reached their destination and quickly ran painters' tape along the ground, outlining their space. This look gave off an immediate sense of construction and a zone that shouldn't be entered. However, when the jumpsuits were taken off it became clear that the space was actually a playing field for a game they had created and were about to play for the public.
I don't think I have enough room in this review to go over the exact rules and guidelines of this made-up game; suffice to say that it's two people on each team trying to carry a blanket on an art supply tube to a designated goal area. What ended up being more interesting to me than the game was the reactions of the people who crossed the blue tape and entered into the players' "zone." Many pedestrians had apologetic, confused, and sometimes even scared looks on their faces as they quickly tried to get out of the space. I guess that should be considered part of the game.
I continued to watch the game hoping to understand what it had to do with the title of the show, but disappointingly never could. The point of the game and the reason it was included in the show was lost on me. Having an out-of-bounds area, as almost every sport does, makes the playing field in itself a zone or territory, but it was never explained what this has to do with security. Then again, maybe it doesn't need to be explained and there are no meanings behind it except for people to enjoy watching. And that's what I've decided to take from it, and I would recommend stopping by if you're in the neighborhood, however long you want to stay and watch.