Real life, or reality TV, has a way of playing tricks with audiences whether they are viewers of the genre or not. For example, one of the new mainstream teasers includes a mix of Bravo Network’s various Real Housewives — Teresa Giudice, Kyle Richards, and Kenya Moore — wearing burnt cork and the not-ordinarily-used shoulder pads of Norma Camali’s women’s apparel in an ad for DIRECTV Football. While The Housewives tackle real-life quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, Prescott actually manages a dead moment, dining room table-flipping feet on Giudice’s big “whore bitch” scene from her first season.
What kind of person turns the tables, asks Giudice.
And so, it continues. We are all part of the joke, if not the joke itself.
This month, several highly conceptualized/performing arts companies such as Applied Mechanics and JUNK are using the competitive heart-pounding format of reality TV and using the metaphorical Housewives atmosphere to tell a broader story in the fairs. Like Real PlaNet Life and Luster, respectively.
Initially inspired by the likes of Bob Fosse’s Dancin’ and Pilobolus on Broadway in the 1970s, JUNK’s choreographer and dancer eventually turned his attention to the concept-driven art of movement whose production each grew in scope and space (he likes to find) unique performance spaces and building performances from the structure bone per property) and sports.
By the time we get to JUNK’s Luster, contemplating the overexposure and the depths of cynicism and desperation that people would do for fleeting wealth and fame, Sanders has given his dancing actors a mission: Imagine you’re based on the competition fantasy web series, TRAGIC, and fight for your right to dodge and dash And the response – not figuratively.
Sanders says of his desire to explore and exploit the dummy medium at what he calls Luster’s meeting of RuPaul’s Drag Race and The Amazing Race, a one-room, downtown Philadelphia Concourse Dance Bar. “It’s so amazing and so wrong, all at the same time,” Sanders says of the reality TV genre and its willingness to parody and play. “Part of my art, when it comes to Luster, is trying to accommodate that dichotomy. It also happens in the Instagram/TikTok world, where all that hard work is put into 30 seconds as a personal ‘cool’ factor. It’s impressive as its own thing, but If you take it out of context, and blow it up, that kind of reality is its own raw art form.”
In order to take a somewhat less physically and mentally intimidating attitude to Housewives, real, unreal and perhaps even otherworldly, the Applied Mechanics group makes their own rules just as Sanders Junk does theirs.
Beginning with the Applied Mechanics Statement (“We value cooperation. We value the unique contribution of each person to the work we do together. As a group, we are feminists, anti-racist, anti-capitalist, anti-colonial, anti-standard, and ‘pro-black.’” These values mean for us dismantling all hierarchies and unfair power relations. We create stories that aim to expand the liberation potential of all beings – starting with ourselves. Our work together and the art we create must support these values”), “REAL PLAnET LIFE” her real-life film that broadcasts a look at life Aliens in a production by and for Aliens: Real Housewives meets ET meets the Muppets.
You can buy movie tickets over here His physical copy is on display at the Vox Populi Gallery in Philadelphia through October 2.
Applied Mechanics group members Severin Blake (who performs on Real PlaNet Life) and Rebecca Wright (who runs Real PlaNet Life as part of the company’s other multimedia Orbits performance series) spoke about the realistic slicing and slicing process.
“We took ourselves on a science fiction flight this time,” Blake says of the fact that applied mechanics was ready to explode this time outside the ideals of care. “We want to give our artists agency. Everyone in the group writes their own characters, tracks, and stories.”
Then applied mechanics gives those characters their collective vision of a dream of how we come – perhaps – to the familial aspects of like Real Housewives – a concept bound together by specific territory, social economics, fierce design and a willingness to drive it all into something dynamic, but absurd. However, the out-of-control ego that drives the stormy Real Housewives – wherever they are – is the same set of egos that are smothered by a group like Applied Mechanics, uniting them for their own vision and output. “We are connected to each other and each other’s stories — not everyone is good at listening, having an agency as a group, or working collaboratively,” Wright says.
Caretaking is part of what started the new Real PlaNet Life concept, questions about how we as people take care of each other over time, in a time of turmoil and great change. “We show the beautiful happiness behind getting it all right and the flaws of how we can get it all wrong too,” says Blake.
How those truly earnest, poignant, and tender themes feed into the idea of Real Housewives/Big Brother, a ridiculous set piece full of selfish rage and expensive shoes, is what charges Real PlaNet Life with exotic energy and existential fervor.
Severine Blake laughs, trying to avoid spoilers, by announcing that her character is receiving a visit from several family members she hasn’t seen in a long time—”Will it be a party or a complete mess?” . “There are moments when we need a confession, a side eye to show what the fools around me are doing?”
Wright continues with the colorful pop of Real PlaNet Life “Have you ever noticed that when you live together or are close to one group, if you don’t laugh, you cry? You know how you get on reality TV on shows like The Real World where it’s The concept is to put all these “strangers” in one house and see what happens? Well, Applied Mechanics wanted to see if we could do that with aliens…. We give ourselves permission to play with circumstances that are sometimes tragic, but often hilarious. Sometimes to coexist, and navigate it.”
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