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Jack Anderson

Jeremy Wade: Sex and Glory

Jeremy Wade: "Feed" and "Glory"
COIL Festival 2007
Performance Space 122, 150 First Avenue, East Village
Jan. 17-20, 22-23, 2007, $15
Tickets: (212) 352-3101 or www.ps122.org
Reviewed by Jack Anderson, Jan. 21, 2007

Jeremy Wade's "Glory" suggests that he's among those artists and visionaries who regard sexual ecstasy as a form of spiritual enlightenment (and it might well be). His duet has attracted international attention since its premiere in 2003, and now that I've finally seen it I can understand the fuss.

Structurally, "Glory" is in tri-partite form, with parts that could be called Before Sex, Sex, and After Sex. Wade and his partner, Marysia Stoklosa enter casually dressed and smiling enigmatically, as if sharing secrets. Stoklosa even appears to be suppressing giggles. But, as the music by Michael Mahalchick and Loren Dempster rumbles electronically along, pleasant moments give way to increasingly grotesque expressions and gestures. The dancers grimace, hunch up, and let their hand and arm movements grow jagged. They soon look crazed or subhuman.

Yet, to solemn chimes, they strip, shedding all clothes and adornments (except for Wade's presumably ineradicable tattoos) and, now totally nude, fall to the floor, where they wriggle and crawl side by side like some sort of lizards. Their progress may also be a moral evolution, for they kiss. And they keep kissing in what promises to be an endless kiss of total bliss. Although their entanglements change, their kissing never stops.

Finally, it does, with Wade exclaiming "Oh!" when separating. Now the once-rapturous lovers seem emotionally and morally back in a state of chaos. Movements occur in compulsive spasms. At one point, both dancers fall as if dodging bullets, and they eventually vanish into shadow. Wade may well be preaching "Make love, not war," a familiar moral still worth heeding.

It's hard to discern the intent of "Feed," his new improvised work-in-progress. In a program note and some comments to the audience, Wade revealed his fascination with feeding and being fed as activities relating both to nurture and to sexual gratification.

What he's thus far cooked up, to music by Adam Linson, Mahalchick, and Dempster, is a stew in which he throbs and thrashes, rubs his arms, flings his hands about, feints like a boxer, and juts his jaw forward. He also shouts, moans, and talks, seldom coherently, about such topics as James Bond, nausea, and nightmares.

Later, whirling away, Wade seems immersed in an irrational experience that could be a mystical epiphany or a drug trip, or both. But his solo's significance remains so private as to shut out the audience from this theatrical feast.


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