Oosimaginary on tour

I’ll get to the actual show, but first I want to heave a mighty BRAVO to OosImaginary for hatching the wild idea of going on tour and bringing it to life. Sam Goodman, from an interview on the Sugar Space blog:

We have venues booked in Louisville, Nashville, Conway (AR), Denver, Salt Lake, Missoula, Seattle, Portland, & Ventura, but the idea behind the tour is to perform every day in some capacity, so we are also planning on doing a lot of guerilla/street/outdoor performance in addition to the venue shows.

This is not something that happens easily or without a strong commitment to following through with absurdity in spite of all the shit that people give you, not to mention all the shit we give ourselves. So, to the whole OosImaginary crew, congratulations. You made something awesome happen.

The show itself was a wandering journey through fractured dreams, twisted imaginings, and bizarre visions. The improvised dancing was skillful and engaging to watch, and the entire cast gave solid performances in a dance-theatre-music mashup that satisfies. Make no mistake, this show is the scenic route on the road to I don’t know where. If you need to arrive at some defined story or moral, this might not be your show. This is not a weakness.

The score for the most part matches the rest of the material, though I found myself bothered by some of the lyrics. Not the actual lyrics, just the fact that they were there — I resisted their pull back into a place of verbal cognition. I didn’t mind the integration of poetry as much, but this may be due to the low volume of the cassette player which turned the reading into more of a mumbling aural score than actual verbalization.

In the end, I wanted more. I’m not saying it was unresolved or too short, I’m saying I wanted more. OosImaginary, you walk us right up to the brink. You point over the edge and explain the darkness below, like a very competent tour guide. I want you to jump off, and I want you to take me with you. Similarly, in theory you are dissolving the roles of dancer, actor, and musician into a holistic improvisation. In practice, you’re just taking turns, passing those roles around. Now I will dance, next I will play music, then he will play music, and she will act.

My experience with improvisation is that when you really feel like you’re losing your mind, that is the beginning of the work. Most people stop there because, frankly, it’s scary. Right now I feel like OosImaginary tells the story of losing their minds, or collective mind. It’s a good story. But it’s a bit like trying to drown yourself in a kiddie pool. You know in the back of your mind that ultimately, you’re still safe. Give me the ocean. Give me high tide on a stormy day, salt and sand and seaweed and an undertow that does not relent ever.

Overall I’m excited about this group and what they’re doing. I think that OosImaginary is capable of pushing the envelope, and I hope that they will. I’ll be keeping an eye out for them (Summer tour 2011!?).

Matthew Beals