* Notes *
Composer and vocalist Meredith Monk (pictured left) and her ensemble are currently performing On Behalf of Nature at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. The opening performance on Friday was mesmerizing. The six singers all move beautifully, and it is impressive that one of them, Allison Sniffen, plays keyboards, violin, and French horn. The other two instrumentalists, Bohdan Hilash (winds) and John Hollenbeck (percussion), are also clearly accomplished players, though their choreography was understandably less elaborate.
The vibrant, visceral work is an entire world filled with pre-verbal babbling that spans a great emotional range; humming, textural instrumentals; stark, simple movements; deconstructed costumes made from the each performers old clothing; and gorgeous lighting design.
Ellen Fisher did some wonderful spins in the middle of the piece, donning a costume with panels to accentuate the movement. Katie Geissinger and Allison Sniffen had a moving duet. The blue light that bathed the stage for part of the second half was striking, as was the last costume change which had all of the cast in white. I particularly liked the sound of bells and the very loud droning that seemed to shake the whole theater.
* Tattling *
There was no intermission for this 75 minute performance, which was evidently difficult for some members of the audience.