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LOVE|FORTE, A Collective's Memory Withholdings

LOVE|FORTE, A Collective's Memory Withholdings

Company / Show / Event
LOVE|FORTE, A Collective's Memory Withholdings

Performance Date
05/05/2013

Venue / Location
BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange

A bit about you:
(your occupation, your website, etc.)

A. Nia Austin Edwards, Performer/Creator/Founder of PURPOSE Productions

What was the last time you moved your body?
yesterday

Freeform Review:
 Recollecting Space
A. Nia Austin-Edwards

 

How do you create a space? How do you command a space? How do you own a space and make it familiar? Make it a memory?

LOVE|FORTÉ, A Collective's Memory Withholdings opens with Marjani Forté, face powdered white, curled under a table. The work goes on to engage the audience in a journey of memories -- a woman with no name, garlic and onions, Mississippi River flooding, vegetable picking, cooking, and more. In the process they fill the space, the Theater at BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange, and create a series of worlds within.

Flour, perhaps the same flour that covers Forté 's face, creates rows of vegetables along the front of this world. It is from these vegetable rows that Nia Love picks greens and places them in a basket on her back. Along with the vegetable garden, the set offers a living room with sofa chair as well as a table and chair on their side; a small kitchen with knives, a cutting board, and soup brewing (which the audience had the pleasure of enjoying after the performance); and a plethora of props, including a broom, linoleum floor tiles, hanging photo frames, mirrors, and mason jars with greens, all of which find their place within the memories.

Following Forté 's table exploration, we witness Nia Love sitting in the living room sofa chair with a flickering lantern. Love maneuvers her way out of the chair and into the sideways chair. She begins to share a memory, just words, not sentences, as she makes her way around this multidimensional living room and eventually across the space. As her memory becomes clearer, spoken in phrases and sentences, Forté takes an arduous journey upon linoleum floor tiles. While this tightrope-esque experience is not unfamiliar, her embodiment of this struggle is so extremely physically distorted that you cannot help but follow her journey.  As the work continues we often find ourselves hearing Love while watching Forté. When their bodies do find each other, it is refreshing. Their frames intertwine seamlessly as if sharing space is even a familiar experience, a memory.

As someone who has seen multiple iterations of this work in progress, I found myself existing between memory and reality as well. One such moment came when a video played offering food memories, both personal and historical, which were shared while preparing food. As one of the hanging mirrors placed a shadow on the video image, I was reminded of the January Work In Progress Showcase at BAX, where Forté danced in front of this video. The mirrors shadow reflected my memory of Forté’s moving shadow. Similarly, when Nia and Marjani found their way to the stage left wall -- running into, bouncing off of, hands and feet crawling upon it betwixt gestures that represented emotions which were embodied in a way that felt very familiar to me, very much a part of an African-American vernacular -- I was reminded of DanceNOW at Joe's Pub. While Love and Forté sported house dresses and aprons this go round, I saw their dark tutus worn at Joe’s Pub, especially as the lights dimmed. And as the lights faded on Forté sustaining a physicalized emotional rampage, I was reminded of the dark eye make up that covered almost half of their faces, a darkness that reflected in their eyes throughout every performance.

Both Love and Forté fully embody each memory on this journey, from the way they speak to the way they move to the look in their eyes. Their specificity in these remembered movements succeeds in taking the audience deeper into every world they create, every space they engage. According to their description of the work, "[Love|Fortè is] asking how does the captive mind look in memory, and are there stories, hopes, dreams, desires, and fears that color its landscape, architecture, and geography?" The multi-sensory experience of Memory Withholdings does indeed color landscape, architecture, geography, sound, space, aroma, and much more. One can only hope that this work continues to be explored.

 

Learn more about LOVE|FORTÉ, A Collective on their website, loveforte.org.

 

 

 

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