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Impressions of Jack Ferver’s "Mon, Ma, Mes (Revisité)"

Impressions of Jack Ferver’s "Mon, Ma, Mes (Revisité)"
Nicole Loeffler-Gladstone

By Nicole Loeffler-Gladstone
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Published on February 2, 2016
Photo: Scott Shaw

Gibney Dance at 280 Broadway, New York 

January 15, 2016

Writer, Choreographer, Performer: Jack Ferver

Music: Franz Schubert, Frédéric Chopin, Bo Harwood

Costumes: Reid Bartleme

Jack Ferver's Mon, Ma, Mes (Revisité), performed in studio C at Gibney 280, is a hysterical piece of dance-theater that moves at breakneck speed through the most cringe-worthy aspects of performance and performance-as-life.

Studio C was reconfigured, with the room divided in half by a black curtain. Audience members sat in a semi-circle facing the mirror, with the curtain at their backs. Bright white lighting, which remained constant for the entire performance, reflected in the exposed mirror. Ferver sat facing the audience, alone in the middle of the circle. Though it was arranged like a tribunal, Mon, Ma, Mes (Revisité) is a voluntary confession — albeit a calculated one. 

Jack Ferver in short black shorts talks to the audience while another man stands next to him while laughing
Jack Ferver (right) with Barton Cowperthwaite in Mon, Ma, Mes (Revisité). Photo: Scott Shaw

Ferver's exaggerated character was all too familiar: A self-absorbed performer who commenced his show with a Q and A on what was about to happen, and then pondered his age by saying “How old am I? I've made so much work it's like I'm a million years old. It's like I've been reincarnated over and over again, but always as an artist.” His bon mots didn't stop, even as he shifted among biographical narratives — some heart-wrenching, some surely more embellished than others, but all crackling with wit.   

In Mon, Ma, Mes (Revisité), dance comes in where words fall short. Ferver was at his most vulnerable during these sections, though he employed an over-wrought physicality of flailing arms and heroic poses as a form of armor. As he defiantly tried to force his splits, the crowd chuckled knowingly. One moment —  as Ferver walked the length of the mirror and swung his hand so as to appear to hold hands with his own reflection — was simply brilliant. 

Jack dramatically strikes a pose on the floor. His right leg extends in from of him while he looks up at his hand.
Jack Ferver in Mon, Ma, Mes (Revisité). Photo: Scott Shaw

When he turned to his reflection and said “I love you,” the audience was reminded that we had been watching Ferver watch us as we saw ourselves in the mirror reacting to his work. The exposed mirror created a new kind of wall, perhaps a fifth one, in which the audience was held accountable to their reactions, now made visible to all. Seeing your own face lit up and replicated in a moment of uncomfortable laughter is alarming. 

Ferver has created a little gem of dance-theater that is short, sweet and delivered with blistering clarity.

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