Bland

If Martha Graham had choreographed a dream sequence in Weird Science with the cast of Fraggle Rock, it would still be only half as good as the Bland presentation. In Cherry Lane Theater on elusive Commerce Street, this was a civilized affair, with the Deitch Projects clan and their faithful gathered to observe a mysterious potted plant center stage. Officially titled The Miraculous Conception of Beast Jr., the presentation was the joint effort of designer Theodoric Bland Willoughby (yup, that’s his name) and Megan Coleman, both committed to pushing the boundaries of fashion with their uncompromising projects. Mime dancing, underground lairs, they’ve done it all.

This show was no exception, beginning with the fateful potted plan and continuing with twitching dancing mannequins, faux quadrupeds, shaman explosions, costume changes and full tinsel outfits. It was genius. Afterward, Teddy explained the point of departure. “I was thinking of future primitives. Like we are relics in the future, and things are being scavenged and put together in a different way, but with a shamanistic energy. All the fringe pieces, for instance, are made from discarded video tape.”

“Wasn’t it amazing?” asked a jazzed Nicola Vassell, director of Deitch Projects, not really needing an answer. Later on I caught up with artist Aurel Schmidt at the Purple soiree. “It was the best thing I’ve seen.” She said, “It actually felt like something that meant something.”  What that is, we’re still not sure. 

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