THE SUN RISES IN THE EAST
nytheatre.com review by RIK
FringeNYC includes many productions that state a
relationship to the events of 9/11. Some see a connection between the
retelling of a classic and the tragedy and destruction of 9/11; others
feel their play or performance reflects the current state of the world
including 9/11. Only one, however, is the personal reaction of the
author to the events of that day in September and his desire to share
his having been ‘here’ with those who weren’t. The result is the
performance piece The Sun Rises In The East written and performed
by Brian Shapiro.
August 15, 2002
Shapiro feels that the events (in fact all events) that occurred that day are of a “sense consuming nature”. Direct Experience (his having been part of the event) is not quite the same as Mediated Experience (his friends and relatives have been second hand witnesses via television and the media). He has created a piece that he hopes will enable others to share the Direct Experience, one that will reflect the energies, emotions and sensations of that day, one that will bring all the senses into play so that the audience will become part of the Direct Experience.
Through the use of mime, dance, and spoken word, Shapiro takes us on a journey through that fateful day and those that follow. This journey is not necessarily comfortable or smooth for the uninitiated, for those who aren’t devotees of this type of performance. It is easy to become enamored of the talent this man displays as he writhes on the floor or gracefully gallops across the stage rather than feel the emotional meaning he is trying to get across to the audience.
The audience was small for the performance I attended and his efforts at engaging them in a dialogue fell somewhat flat. A bigger crowd would make for a more meaningful interplay. Although not completely engaged and not completely understood by many, the piece ended by giving the audience a feeling of contentment, of solace.