"Voyeur" takes the audience on a journey through other's lives and brings Edward Hopper's paintings to life.
Two dancers of a certain age have figured out how to multiply their numbers and their range of motion – technology.
For years, Bridgman Packer Dance, a duo comprised of seasoned artists who happened to be married, have successful explored the known and unknown uses of video, light and set structures. Their ingenious efforts have allowed Art Bridgman and Myrna Packer to create a surreal world where audiences are often unsure where the real dancer ends the virtual one begins.
They did it again on Saturday night at PS/21 in Chatham. They presented two works, their latest “Table Bed Mirror” and a work from 2012 “Voyeur.” While “Table Bed Mirror” felt slightly overdone, “Voyeur” was near perfect.
“Voyeur,” the program note explained, takes inspiration from Edward Hopper’s paintings – likely his “Night Windows” – in which the viewer glimpses – through windows -- a woman in a room, seemingly undressing for bed.
Many of Hopper’s pieces evoked a sense of an outsider looking in – think “Nighthawks.” But Bridgman Packer take that farther with “Voyeur,” in which a screen with a door and two windows becomes the canvas for a series of voyeuristic experiences. Those in the seats become the voyeur, watching through the windows, a woman undressing, casually moving about or sitting on the bed.
Donning various costumes from the Hopper era – including Bridgman in a fedora and Packer in a red dress -- and surrounding the dance within rooms and objects reflecting the 1940s, heightened the sense that one is watching a Hopper painting come alive.
The piece fascinated from the start with Bridgman watching Packer from a distance. When they finally come together, the lights go out, as they should. It was a perfect ending for a captivating piece.
“Table Bed Mirror,” which started off the night, was a fantasy, taking the audience through the absurd journey of a dream. “Table Bed Mirror” has many enchanting moments – dancers’ images dive head first and then disappear into the floor or a stand of virtual doors opening onto a road or a dangling foot.
The soundscape included a variety of music that intermingled with text centered on REM sleep science and unreal or dreamlike images such as a giraffe in the bathtub or Martha Stewart fighting zombies. It was also fun to watch Bridgman’s giant head telling him where to move, again for no apparent reason, as in a dream.
The only problem with the work is the set-up was too long. With a little editing, "Table Bed Mirror" could be a dream.