"Let's say anything is possible and everything is happening." This is a line from the newest play by Katie Pearl and Lisa D'Amour, a pair that has been creating performances together for 14 years now. This new work, Terrible Things, follows a largely autobiographical story about Katie Pearl's life, with a particular focus on the thwarting of her childhood dream of being a ballerina, along with a history of her lovers. The metaphor that binds the anecdotes in the show, as well as the idea that the play explores in general, is possibility. Specifically, the notion, borrowed from quantum physics, that because we cannot presently measure the location of a single electron at a given time, that electron can be described as being in all of its possible locations at any specific time. In other words, it's everywhere that it can be simultaneously. This theory is related to theoretical physicist Werner Heisenberg's famous Uncertainty Principle.
According to one interpretation of quantum mechanics, in the course of any event in which multiple outcomes are possible, every outcome occurs—one in this world, others in an array of parallel worlds. So in one world, I might write that I despise Katie Pearl and Lisa D'Amour's Terrible Things and Sibyl Kempson and Mike Iveson Jr.'s Crime or Emergency, both at P.S.122. In another, I might champion one show at the other's expense. In a third, I might never pen a word, as a racetrack win enables me to abandon my career and light out for regions rum-soaked and tropical. But in this world, I will celebrate both shows as appealing and eclectic (and perhaps heave a quick sigh for daiquiris unsipped).
A bunch of bright lights worked on Terrible Things, which you can enjoy at Performance Space 122, now through December 20. Written by longtime partners-in-crime-and-OBIE, Lisa D'Amour andKatie Pearl, choreographed by Emily Johnson, the piece is wonderfully performed by Pearl, Johnson, Morgan Thorson, Karen Sherman and a couple of amiable wrestlers (Rudy De La Cruzand Adrian Czmielewski).
Those Tibetan Buddhists who spend their days toiling over sand mandalas are going about it all wrong—they'd have a lot more fun making marshmallow mandalas instead. Lovers of those gelatinous white sugar puffs will be alternately tantalized and tortured by Terrible Things, a new theatrical dance piece that just opened at Performance Space 122. Upon entering the theater, an army of 1,000 marshmallows are found arrayed on stage in orderly rows. It's a simple pattern, but a hypnotic one, and as the performance unfolds, three female dancers meticulously herd the marshmallows into ever-evolving patterns. Only two are eaten, and none are offered to the audience.