photo by Glenn Fawcett
I bring my aesthetic-educator-visual-artist husband to Martha Clarke's Garden of Earthly Delights because I want him to tell me about Hieronymus Bosch. I want to hear his perspective on the relationship between Clarke's live work of art and the painting from which she draws inspiration. In going to see this revived (and historic) performance, I look forward to a dialogue about the history of art.
We sit in an audience that is different (more off-Broadway, more money for tickets, more shuffling around in their seats) than we are used to. We engage in a bit of dialogue and I eek out a few opinions about art based on other art. But mostly Matt and I experience a fully sensual and magical theater-going experience:
Lonely, empty wind. Dead branches.
The godly, body-articulate, Jennifer Nugent leading other performers in animalistic, barbie-footed, centaur crawls.
Writhing, twisting, circling, spiraling. tongue licking.
Shiny, reflective Dutch-painter-marley playing with light.
Human pendulums, long-hair-upside-down-people floating back and forth....
Red stick, rain stick penises.
Rolling people, ocean/boats.
Buckets of dead people rags. The plague. Ashes Ashes we all fall down.
Weighted, earthy Breugel waltz.
Blind and stupid. Clunky witch hunt potato famine.
Madrigal, gregorian, remote.
No sense of time (a dream or a painting)
Raping and killing.
Flying and spinning and cackling.
Drum God Thunder
Orgiastic, sensual, sexual, erotic, cello stabbed in the navel. Music as an umbilical cord and death.
And suddenly a branch with green leaves. A beautiful black man floating in the air holding a living tree. An image with new significance as of November 4. It is also an image reminiscent of Waiting for Godot.
Artists and history and extremes of human experience float together on Minetta Lane.
The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch; Museo del Prado, Madrid