Fusebox Festival

Fusebox Festival

Through May 1
by Lee Webster

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      Rubber Repertory
      Biography of Physical Sensation

      View Gallery

      If you were one of the thousand people at Seaholm Power Plant in Austin on the opening night of Fusebox Festival 2011, you could feel it in the air. Amid the soar of the vaulted ceilings and the sound of a 100-string orchestra, there was a palpable sense that the little performing arts festival that could had arrived. Fusebox has grown into a meticulously curated two weeks of avant-garde and experimental performing arts events. It both puts Austin on the map as a destination for boundary-blurring art and brings the best new multimedia works to the stages of Austin.

      Take a look at the smattering of offerings left on the last weekend of the festival, then get out there and take a chance on a new experience of art beyond the gallery walls.

      The Bench
      Ant Hampton & Glen Neath
      Through May 1

      The Bench facilitates the meeting of two strangers who become the audience and performers alike. Both wear headphones instructing them what to do and say, and the drama unfolds from there. Author Glen Neath and Ant Hampton, one half of the creative team Rotozaza who brought us the extremely well-received Etiquette in 2008, are masters of facilitating startlingly intimate, exhilarating, yet carefully controlled encounters that awaken the voyeur and performer in us all.

      Biography of Physical Sensation
      April 27 – April 30

      This is the story of a life conveyed through all the pain, pleasure, awkwardness and oddness of disambiguated smells, sounds, sights and touches. Rubber Repertory distilled the life of one woman down to its essentials through hours of exhaustive research and interviews. Her biography is recreated nightly by a group of technicians who stage and execute each action upon individual audience members one by one. You might be fed milk and cookies one moment or hefted over a shoulder and carried around the room the next. No person’s experience will be the same, though all will leave with the slightly tingly sensation of being more alive to a world of perception beyond our thinking brains.

      I’ve Never Been So Happy
      Rude Mechs
      April 28 - April 30

      The Rude Mechs are back with the culminating presentation of a show that explodes the myth of the Wild West in a delightfully fun cultural mash-up of theater, pop culture and melodrama. The Rudes put Grand Ole Opry tunes and the bizarre myth and machismo of El Topo together in a blender, and what comes out is a big ol’ hee-haw that begs the audience to join in with a carnival of interactive art experiences and a rousing sing-a-long.

      Low Lives 3
      Jorge Rojas
      April 29 - April 30

      Low Lives presents live performance works transmitted via the Internet to over 20 locations internationally. It’s an exciting prospect for Austin to see and take part in an international dialogue on contemporary performance. The webcast from Austin will be part of Katelena Hernandez’s Comfort Sessions, a private and public performance project in which the artist serenades an audience of one or more with a set of lullabies. Hernandez promises to lull the audience to sleep in the folds of her flowing fleece dress as she sings for “crying babies, for insomniacs, the sick, the dying, for the lonely, for perverts, for the frightened, for those who need something but don’t know what,” and now, for an international audience.

      Get Mad at Sin!
      Andrew Dinwiddie
      April 29 - April 30

      Get Mad at Sin! is one performer’s quest to bring to life a sermon of the late, great Evangelical preacher Jimmy Swaggart. Faithful to a tee to an original recording of Swaggart in 1971, Dinwiddie promises to recreate the man himself with the same vim and vigor Swaggart used to bring thousands unto the Lord in his prime. 

      Lee Webster is an artist living and working in Austin, Texas.