Sylvie or Marie is a new project that is still in progress. The piece is inspired by Ben Greenman’s text.
As Time Out magazine noted in April, 2008: “Synesthesia’s cycle of inspiration is extending beyond the confines of the event: Writer Ben Greenman’s 2007 contribution, Sylvie or Marie, led to a performance piece crafted by him and choreographer Beth Kurkjian that was staged in both London and New York.” Indeed Ben and I met during Synesthesia, an artistic game of telephone, sponsored by the Electric Pear Productions, in 2007.
Here is some press about “Sylvie or Marie”:
“Beth Kurkjian presented Sylvie or Marie. Inspired by text by Ben Greenman… Ms. Kurkjian moved voluptuously, speaking lines like, Wine is the best thing in France, I think.” Gia Kourlas, New York Times
“Beth Kurkjian has the 1940’s movie star looks of an Ava Gardner or Rita Hayworth type, but performs with a big caffeine jolt our present era. Inspired by text by Ben Greenman Sylvie or Marie, Kurkjian packs myriad visual and aural images into her short segment. Her mood swings from sad to seductive, anxious to angry and the text has a surreal quality if making sense though we only know snippets of the story. It has mystery, conflict and glamour through sets, costumes, sound are minimalist. Kurkjian draws us in with her appealing performance quality and the density of the piece calls for a longer, languid venue.” Marilyn Russo, Attitude: The Dancers’ Magazine, vol 21, No. 4
“Beth Kurkjian rage[s] in Sylvie or Marie… at being killed in a car crash because her boyfriend failed to check an automotive problem.” Deborah Jowitt, Village Voice
Here are the showings so far:
- Nov. ‘07–Sylvie or Marie, 15-minute version, for Performance Studies International (PSi) conference #13
- Oct. ‘07–Sylvie or Marie, 7-minute version, for PS 122 DANCEOFF!! FRANCEOFF!!
- May ‘07–Sylvie or Marie, 30-minute version at SHUNT London Bridge, London, UK.
- May ‘07–Sylvie or Marie, 30-minute version at Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) Theater, London. Part of Accidental Festival.
- Apr. ‘07–Sylvie or Marie, 7-minute version at the Club at La Mama. Part of CATCH Takes Manhattan Dance Festival.
Age Less (50 min). I am in the process of adding a new short section to the piece.
Here is some press about “Age Less”:
“These choreographic moments in which technique spirals out into compulsive, convulsive movement are paralleled by Kurkjian’s set and costumes. In a seemingly endless series of changes, she churns out more and more hand-crocheted elements, haphazard in their construction, and vaguely obscene in the weird superfluity of stitches. These outfits are sexy but awkward, badly constructed but fetishistic, spilling out into the set, which is also swaddled in Kurkjian’s stitches. Serial movement, banal rituals, and the minute choreography of women’s domestic labor mount up as the evening progresses, and the obsessive, repetitive creation of the crocheted sets and costumes seems to replicate that process. It’s mildly crazy, just out of control, even as it embodies a certain ideal of careful, quiet, concentrated domestic and womanly productivity. AGE LESS is a self-indulgent piece in the best sense of the term, and it also manages to indulge domestic impulses even as it exposes their weird ironies.” Barbara Browning, Women and Performance journal
“Age Less is a one-woman dance theater piece that feels like a living collage, during which memories, some quintessential and others banal, are seamlessly woven together. Because they are performed with no regard to chronology, the memories bleed into and inform one another, as though they were being recounted spontaneously. There are dreamlike and absurd elements, but they do not keep the piece from being constantly recognizable.” Antoinette Nwandu, offoffonline.com
“Whilst much of the movement in Age Less required Kurkjian to appropriate gracelessness: the struggling into a buttoned crochet dress with breathless exhortations ‘quicker, just a little, must go quicker,’ or the childlike bouncing legs expressing nervous energy when interacting with a small clockwork bird produced from the prop box, she also displayed much of the precision and economy of movement of a skilled dancer. Professor Helen Thomas, Research Director at the London College of Fashion was quick to complement Kurkjian on her spatial awareness and appreciation of line that to Prof. Thomas suggested the expertise of a Spanish dancer; in the discussion following the performance.” David Matthews, Accidental Festival 2006 reviewer/archivist
“Among the overseas visitors were Beth Kurkjian from New York who performed her solo work Age Less and presented a paper entitled Loop, which explored her working style, influences and the way in which she developed the piece.” Glamorgan Talent magazine
- Apr. ‘07 Age Less at Improvisation Continuums conference, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff, Wales, UK
- Feb. ‘07 Age Less at SHUNT London Bridge, London, UK
- Oct. ‘07 Age Less at NYU (Cantor), for Tisch School of the Arts first year students
- June ‘06Age Less at ICA Theater, London, UK. Part of Accidental Festival.
- Mar. ‘06 Age Less at Mo Pitkins, NYC.
- Nov. ‘05 Age Less at NYU (Cantor), for Tisch School of the Arts first year students.
- July ‘05 Age Less at the Ontological Theater, NYC
Other Solo Projects:
- “Synesthesia is a singular evening of art/performance, created by Electric Pear Productions in collaboration with a dozen artists; it’s one of the more laudable and unusual theatre events in a month that’s been full of them.” nytheatre.com
- nytheatre.com named Electric Pear one of the 2007 “People of the Year”
June 06 DUCK at Catch Series, Galapagos Art Space, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Sept. 05 I’m a Swede in Dixon Place’s Bodyblend Series.
Apr. 05 Keep Under at PS 122’s Avant-Garde-Arama.
Jan. 05 Keep Under at Tonic’s Little Theater Series.
May 03 Cape Cod at The Ontological Theater’s Seven Minute Series
May 02 non/fiction at PS 122’s New Stuff series
Nov. 01 Centaur Feat at Galapagos Art Space’s Phat Tuesdays
Jul. 01 Centaur Feat at five myles St. Johns Place on Stage III
May 01 Centaur Feat at The Ontological Theater’s Seven Minute Series