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Monday, November 14, 2016

In Context: Memory Rings



Phantom Limb Company chronicles 5,000 years of environmental change in this series of surreal wordless vignettes, a phantasmagoric mix of puppetry, music, and macabre fairy tales. Context is everything, so get even closer to the production with this curated selection of related articles and videos. After you've attended the show, let us know what you thought by posting in the comments below and on social media using #MemoryRings.

Program Notes

Memory Rings (PDF)

Read

Article
The BAM blog gives a comprehensive introduction to the Nietzsche cameos, dream images, and fairy tale reenactments of Memory Rings.

Article
Greenland Is Melting Away (The New York Times)
From the front lines of climate change, The New York Times takes an in-depth look at the rapid disappearance of Greenland’s ice sheet.

Article
A Tree's Secret to Living Long (PBS)
Learn all about the “Methuselah Tree,” a California bristlecone pine that’s more than 46 centuries old, and the initial inspiration for Memory Rings.

Website
Memory Rings (Phantom Limb Company)
More about the production on the company’s website.

Review
69°S (backstage.com)
A rave review of Phantom Limb’s most recent BAM production, 69ºS, inspired by Ernest Shackleton’s expedition to Antarctica and featuring three-foot tall marionettes, giant glaciers, and a live band.

Watch

Video
Facebook Live: Phantom Limb Company (Facebook)
The company explains how their puppets are made and discusses the importance of creating art with a social mission.

VideoMemory Rings - Work In Progress (Vimeo)
Company co-founders Jessica Grindstaff and Erik Sanko give a peek inside the work’s development through the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.

Now your turn...

What did you think? Tell us what's on your mind in the comments below and on social media using #MemoryRings.

17 comments:

  1. I've been to many BAM performances, but, few left me as unmoved as this one. While many of the visual effects were moving, the dance, the puppetry, the "story lines" all seemed heavy handed and obscure at the same time. Oh well, some pieces affect different people positively and others negatively. I'm in the latter camp here.

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  2. Arbitrary, gratuitous and grindingly sophomoric. Not a spot of real theatre craft anywhere, though LOADED with technology. Had they found a way to pull off whatever they were after with ONLY the puppets on stage, they might've had something. Animal costumes and dancing bushes and mute amateur story theatre and...my god! Flip through the program and read about all the "artists" and "collaborators" who were tossed all the grant money that made it all happen.

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  3. Painfully boring.

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    1. It was just a mess. Three shows in one--and none of them interesting on any level. No magic, especially the puppets. Very disappointing.

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  4. i thought is was amazing … for me it was the best performance i saw this season !

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    1. What did you find "amazing" about the performance? And why was it "the best"?

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  5. I have been privileged to see this work on three occasions. Each time I find something new in terms of creativity, innovation and social conscience. It deserves a sensitive and smart audience. If you're seeking razzle-dazzle entertainment, you won't find it here. If you want to be challenged, charmed and inspired toward action... this is the right place. It is work made with conscience, soul, courage and immense talent. If you miss that, it's on you, not the show. Thank you BAM for bringing this work to NYC.

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    1. Razzle-dazzle entertainment? No one goes to BAM with the HOPE of razzle-dazzle. There's plenty of that elsewhere in the city. And there's more razzle-dazzle in this production than in the Folies Bergere. So it certainly doesn't lack that. And if that's what you seek, by all means you'll find it in this production. And you'll find it no matter how many times you see it. If being moved by this dreck demonstrates ones hyper sensitivity and smarts and social conscience, de gustibus non est disputandum. Getting up on stage is readily available to the talent-free (who will never lack an eager audience) as it is to anyone else.

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  6. This perofrmance was the product of a very adolescent mind.

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  7. This was a miss for me. I thought it was pretentious and poorly written.

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  8. I enjoyed it more visually than content-wise. Less the prancing animals. When the content and visuals came together it was very very nice.

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  9. Keith Skretch(video design) is a talent. I thought the center piece tree and the video were beautiful and moving. I loved the animal masks, but I think they belonged in another piece or maybe the pantomime and the literal movements that kept repeating throughout got to me. The choreography reminded me of shows one of my daughters used to put on for the family when she was four years old. Maybe Ryan Heffington and Jonah Bokaer can collaborate on their next dance piece. Come on BAM!

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  10. I was disappointed. I am an artist, environmentalist and have been going to BAM for 20 years but this was a clear miss with all the best intentions. The animal masks were lovely, the video was compelling but the illustrative movements, vocals were reminiscent of a contact improv class exercise from the 80s. The lack of emotional connections to the viewer was sorely lacking, no memorable story, no moment of incredible sadness - wish there was. I went with great hopes.

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  11. Being passionate about a worthy issue and open minded about different ways to portray it is not enough. The portrayal itself should convey something.
    There was one nice technique -- people sliding slowly on their backs across a video-screen floor -- that I appreciated watching at length. But if you're going to spend five minutes walking a puppet across the stage, that walk had better look good. If you're going to assemble a prop onstage, there should be some significance in the assembly itself. If trees are going to move, there should be some message in this unnatural choice; otherwise it's nothing but eye candy, and I'm afraid not very good eye candy at that.
    But I'm glad you care about climate change. I think it is our number one political issue.

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  12. This was the most boring show I have ever seen. And I am including elementary school productions in that list. The masks are great and I am sure a lot of money went into this production. The message is not new and while earnest was simplistic at best. The dancing was repetitious and predictable. I fell asleep during part of it and just wished I could have slept through more.

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  13. this was the worst show I saw in many years if not ever. maybe the set was good but then you rarely go to see just a set for a painful hour and a half. such dilettantism, not worthy to be staged at BAM. who decided that this gets to be part of the New Wave Festival? the curation has reached its all time new low. sad times.

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  14. The way the fantastic tree and the virtual stage created by light on the wall/floor and the puppets & actors and the dance kept me enthralled.

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