Pi Theatre, adds a touch of intrigue to its next production. Continuing its Provocateurs Series with the next presentation, Untitled Peter Tripp Project, running from Thursday, May 4 to Saturday, May 6 at a secret location which will be announced to Pi Theatre ticket holders days before the performance.
Peter Tripp, a once-celebrated radio DJ, performed a publicity stunt in 1959 wherein he broadcast continuously for 201 hours from a glass booth in Times Square. This act was his undoing – he suffered psychological complications from prolonged sleep deprivation, and his increased fame made him a target for investigators who would indict him for commercial bribery in the “payola” scandal of 1960.
“Tripp serves as an aspirational (and cautionary) figure in our current thinking around arts practice. We find rich territory in the metaphor of the radio broadcast – the host sends performative energy into literal thin air, not knowing whether it is being received by listeners. Exhaustion acts as a character in Tripp’s story, as the ever present wolf-at-the-door threatening to consume the performer while simultaneously motivating his gimmick.” Says co-creators Johanna Bundon, Jayden Pfeifer, and Lee Henderson.
Untitled Peter Tripp Project is a physical and poetic interpretation of Tripp’s dilemma, created by artists Bundon, Pfeifer and Henderson, and performed by this trio along with artist Tess Degenstein. The work highlights the natural interdisciplinarity of performance by composing an atmosphere that activates space, breath, gesture, voice, light, and sound with equal importance. Endurance-based movement, improvisational and written text, image projection, radio frequency programming, and the fracturing/looping of sound recordings conjure hallucination, fugue states, and doppelgänger-paranoia. The work is imaginative and sensation-rich, and aspires to affect the collective nervous system of its audience through the performers’ embodiment of these heightened states of presence.
Audiences will encounter aspects of ‘Peter’ (or an imagined facsimile thereof) as they are variously inhabited and shed by the performers over the course of the piece. This multitudinous portrayal enacts the altered forms of consciousness that a sleep-deprived performer experiences. Narrative, in its broadest sense, is present, but steps aside to allow visual metaphor to lead the conversation.
This ensemble of artists moves fluidly between the roles of performer and technician, activating the performance space for one another. They work in relay to create the images and performance actions, handing off the metaphorical baton to keep the momentum of both the technical aspects and performative actions. And, they enter the arena of Tripp’s myth to research their personal relationships to themes of exhaustion, public failure, and loneliness.