by: Rudy Gerson
A deafening boom. A bright flash. Then, silence. Ears ringing, core shaken, you are born.
Or was that The Big Bang?
Or merely what we’d imagine these phenomena to be? For performer Andrew Schneider, the difference between imagination and reality is not what matters. Rather, he’s more interested in seizing the opportunity of using the stage to visualize the struggle of our endless yearnings for order in the sea storm that is life.
Using on-stage cues and technological manipulation unparalleled in American theater, the experimental performance piece YOUARENOWHERE is back after a five-star run at Coil in January. This time with infinite more megawatts, three behemoth HD projectors, and a grid of hyper-modern LED that takes the already transcendent show to an-out-of-this-galaxy level. Unlike, the constant whispers of computer fans or lights, the show is anything but static.
The theater as a metaphor and a medium — Schneider grapples with how his perceptions of truth never quite represent the truth, both in the scientific and personal sense. In quantum mechanics, we’re taught with astonishing lucidity how Einstein’s theory of relativity calls into question basic presumptions about the universality of experience. Schneider’s matter-of-fact style and absolutely sharpened physical poise guides us. He is the human embodiment of technology, which inevitably will begin to slow down and go awry.
So too with humans. Schneider lists off his significant life events as if they were stats being read off the back of his trading card. How tragic it is that each of us can be summarized in such quantitative terms. The psycho-scientific ride through mortality doesn’t slow down enough to let us dwell too long on such a solipsism.
Save for a welded rectangular frame hanging center stage, Schneider stands shirtless on a bare stage, literally nowhere to hide. He is no where and yet now here. The question of where here is, needs not dramaturgical investigations. Here is the bare stage, and the show must go on.
Alone, in black slacks, and eerie white face make-up, his every-man body exudes a presence, a naked stillness, and a specificity of movement that made me feel taken care of. The initial booms sent shockwaves to my core and forcibly opened me up, violently. Schneider makes it a point to find his home somewhere in between him and that dark space we keep in ourselves, for ourselves. We’ll never quite catch up to the slippages between life as we understand it and as it unfolds before us.
Go see YOUARENOWHERE to see Andrew Schneider try.
YOUARENOWHERE is extended thru May at 3LD Art and Technology Center (80 Greenwich St.) Run time: 60 minutes. Tickets available at https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/dept/1258/1456808400000. If tickets are sold out, go anyway. They will accommodate everyone to see the show.