Big Dance Theater's new work entitled Comme Toujours Here I Stand reinvents Agnes Varda's classic French New Wave film Cleo From 5 to 7 for the stage. Shot in Paris in 1961, the film tracks the late afternoon hours in the life of a marginally talented pop singer, as she waits to hear if she has terminal cancer. The company uses the script as a found object to create an intimate portrait of a woman shadowed by death, while still caught up in the breezy pleasures of the day: shopping, visiting, strolling. The piece serves also as a critique of the flexible and facile nature of the medium of film when set against the handmade qualities of live dance and theater.
Big Dance Theater teams up with video artist Jeff Larson to make Cleo's activities come alive via the intersection of three rolling walls and decidedly low-budget video, fracturing space to capture the agile quality of film. In a unique collaboration between costumes, set, and video, the clothes and wallpaper merge on video into one expressive medium to describe the vivid, colorful interiors of a filmic world. Big Dance Theater’s innovative use of dance as staging collides the fear of death, the minutiae of everyday life, and the beauty of a city.
The work is directed by Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar, with the original title song by Robyn Hitchcock.