Three-day-long performance combines Emily Dickinson with disco music

The Brooklyn Paper
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Call it a space poetry jam.

Starting on Sept. 4, the Bushwick Starr theater will host a performance that combines the poetry of Emily Dickinson with a space-age aesthetic and disco music. “Emily Dickinson Outer Space!” will run non-stop for three days and the theater will be turned into one giant set to create a fully immersive audience experience — all of which the show’s director hopes will help capture the essence of the reclusive mid-19th-century American poet.

“She made an entire universe out of her poems,” said Michelle Sutherland. “We’re creating an entire universe in one room.”

The show will feature 88 performers singing the lines of 88 Dickinson poems set to music and dance. The performance begins at 8 pm on Sept. 4 will run straight through 10 pm on Sept. 6, with a closing party going until 1 am the next morning. Three of the actors will stay in the show throughout, and the rest will work in shifts.

Each poem will be accompanied by music along with some type of performative display, such as a ritual or ceremony. But there are no characters and no story line, said Sutherland.

“We’re not trying to tell a story,” she said. “We’re just creating an experience.”

The audience, meanwhile, will lounge around the theater — which will be plushly furnished with hot pink and mint green cushions — as performers serve them food and drinks. The soundtrack will be space-themed, incorporating elements of psychedelic rock, jazz, disco, and other cosmic cultural tunes, such as music from “Star Wars” and “The Jetsons,” Sutherland explained.

“We are hosting a party,” she said. “People should expect to experience a party.”

A centerpiece of the show will be a dance platform shaped like a giant cake. The set will also feature an igloo, where audience members can take a break from the action and experience a more calming environment.

At the heart of the show is the American fascination with exploration, said Sutherland — especially the nation’s fixation on space-travel in the 1970s, and the western expansion of Dickinson’s time.

“Frontierism and pilgrimage are big parts of the American identity,” she said.

“Emily Dickinson Outer Space!” at the Bushwick Starr (207 Starr St. between Irving and Wykoff avenues in Bushwick, Sept. 4 at 8 pm through Sept. 6 at 10 pm. $15 one time admission. $30 unlimited.

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260-8310. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

BunnynSunny from Clinton Hill says:
Sounds horrible. But also intensely boring.
Aug. 27, 2014, 8:05 am
Your neighbor from Clinton HIll says:
I bet you're REALLY fun at parties BunnynSunny
Aug. 28, 2014, 12:29 am
BunnynSunny from Not Your Neighbor says:
Nor your neighbor from Clinton Hill ****REALLLLLLYYYYYY*****
Aug. 28, 2014, 3:04 pm

Comments closed.

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